It's a terrible thing to watch: a political leader attempting to rap, discuss sport or, really, engage in any pursuit that isn't laying gradual legislative waste to the country. Nevertheless, it is these minor embarrassments that are increasingly served up for public consumption as politicians try to reassure voters that they are, indeed, human. Green Room-nominated playwright Katy Warner's latest work captures a dangerous subspecies of this political animal — the MP convinced they have the common touch.
In A Prudent Man, Lyall Brooks plays an amalgam of several conservative politicians. He's an ordinary bloke, y'know? A cobber who'd sit down with you at the end of the day to knock back a raw onion or two. But he's not in his element here. He's recounting an…incident. And he's clearly not happy about it. The façade is starting to slip.
Conservative politics is at a very interesting place right now. Brawling has become the new populism. The Abbotts, the Hansons the Duttons have realised that many voters rate naked bastardry as being more genuine than affected decency.
A Prudent Man was lauded for its critique of this approach to politics when it did the rounds at the Melbourne and Perth Fringe Festivals, nabbing the People's Choice Award at the latter. Now it's headed into Bjelke-Petersen country for a two-night stint at the QUT Gardens Theatre. It's unlikely Warner will be appointed a dame for her efforts any time soon, but rest assured — she hasn't stinted on the zingers.
Image: Adam Fawcett