Joh for PM is the political musical comedy we never knew we needed until now
When it comes to politics, often the truth is stranger than fiction. Here in Australia, we have seen all manner of larger-than-life characters make their way through the government at various levels – some of them loveable (g’day Bob Hawke), some of them incomprehensibly daft (looking at you, Pauline Hanson) and some of them downright sinister. One of the most controversial figures in Australia’s political history is finally getting what he deserves – that’s right, it’s time to learn all about the life and times of Joh Bjelke-Petersen through the medium of the musical. Heading to the Brisbane Powerhouse from July 7-16, Joh for PM will have you roaring with laughter about something that definitely wasn’t funny at the time.
Whether you lived through the era yourself or conversely know practically nothing about him, Joh for PM is a truly illuminating and extremely tongue-in-cheek look at the life the iconic Queensland ex-premier. Set at a fundraiser for the man himself in 1987, the musical is a satire of the events that occurred during his extremely and uncomfortably long reign – original tunes such as ‘Pumpkin Scone Diplomacy’, ‘Feeding the Chook’s and the titular ‘Joh for PM’ set the scene for this retrospective. The production is rooted in retro values but also has one hand pointed toward the future, featuring digs at some of the more contemporary names in the global political sphere.
When it comes to turning this very weird time in Queensland history into a razor-sharp musical romp, it was always a matter of calling in the experts. Joh for PM was lovingly written by award-winning playwright Stephen Carleton (of The Narcissist, The Turquoise Elephant and Bastard Territory fame) and Broadway composer Paul Hodge (who has Clinton: The Musical under his belt). Lovers of true Aussie comedy and professional funny legends will be delighted to note that Colin Lane is taking on the role of Joh – picture that, let it marinate for a second and then try to tell us that that’s not some genius casting.
There really is no business like Joh business – grab your tickets to Joh for PM through the Brisbane Powerhouse.