Sometimes political satire can get a bit tiresome. Depressing as it is, we get so used to seeing the same familiar faces satirized with the same familiar characteristics that we can become immune to it after a while. Take the Prime Miniature, and use this handy political satirist checklist: he’s a liar; he’s socially conservative; he’s a cricket tragic; he sounds like a high school maths teacher. All absolutely true, but after ten years of hearing it, most of us are bored with it.
Political satirist Jim Lawson has realized this as well. And so he’s making a start on the next generation of political leaders. As the title suggests, Howard’s deputy gets a going over, and so does Mark Latham, Julia Gillard and Kevin Rudd. Most of the satire isn’t outrageously funny, but it’s interesting nonetheless to see what characteristics are most ripe for the picking.
Jim Lawson plays Jim Jones, the fumbling stumbling t’riffic member for Kalgoolie, although he lives just outside his electorate. On the Gold Coast. We are witnessing an historic day, as Jones addresses his faction (that’d be us) in his new role as leader of the Labor Opposition. In this role, Jones isn’t so much a satire of somebody but of everybody. He’s a generic, try-hard, baby-kissing, cliché-spouting politician who would dismember the corpse of his own grandmother for a vote.
Once this set-up is established, Lawson freely drifts in and out of character without the usual theatrical niceties. One minute he’s Jones, the next he’s a veiled Iraqi Marilyn Monroe and the next he’s a wise-cracking sports coach. Some of the characters are mildly interesting, but too often they’re crude and brash. The justification for their existence within the plot is also weak and makes the show appear a little slap-dash.
Still, full points for trying something different. And Lawson does have a tremendous singing voice that he occasionally lets rip. It’d be nice to hear more of this, especially paired up with some cleverly written satirical songs, rather than the very pedestrian banter of Jones which sometimes fills the stage. The show has its moments, although it needs some sharper writing to be truly memorable.