|John Shortis and Moya Simpson
Reviewed by Frank McKone
Political satire comes in many different guises – all essential to our social wellbeing – from Sydney Theatre Company’s annual mainstage The Wharf Revue (this year’s is reviewed on this blog, November 12), to daily newspaper cartoons across the country, standup comedians popping up anywhere and everywhere, through to perhaps the only small-scale dedicated regional outfit – John Shortis and Moya Simpson – working continually for more than 20 years.
To confirm my credentials (if you are using Windows 10 version 1903 you know what I mean), here’s the record of my first review of Shortis & Simpson [published in The Canberra Times]:
“Shortis & Curlies - John Shortis, Moya Simpson, Andrew Bissett at The School of Arts Cafe, 108 Monaro Street, Queanbeyan. Season: Thursdays to Saturdays till June 29, 1996.
“If you are a Liberal politician confident that cutting government spending is the only way to go; or a Labour politician feeling sorry for yourself after 100 days of the new regime; or a veterinary surgeon operating out of Woden Valley; or someone who thinks that a national gun register is not a good idea; or Princess Diana; or Jeff Kennett; or even a frozen embryo who hopes to inherit your dead father's estate: then you shouldn't see this show because you probably won't laugh.”
This year you can learn to do traditional village [Scott] Morrison Dancing; sing along with Pauline Hanson declaring she will never have anything to do with the NRMA – for our US readers, that’s the National Roads and Motorists Association, not the National Rifle Association; feel the excitement of a school student on an excursion to Parliament House Question Time; learn the essence of democracy from the Dalai Lama who explained the importance of being a mosquito; and, among the other eighteen equally zany songs, perhaps be most stunned – while in fits of uncontrollable laughter – to hear the consequences of Donald Trump’s tweet and meet with the environmentalist Prince of Whales [The Donald’s spelling unadulterated].
I have had the privilege of attending to Shortis & Simpson over all these years (I just accidentally wrote ‘tears’ – of laughter), but now face the horrifying prospect that they may not last forever. Next year will see the last of The Wharf Revue: Good Night and Good Luck (at the Canberra Theatre Playhouse in September 2020). The trio of Jonathan Biggins, Drew Forsythe and Phillip Scott presented their first show (The End of The Wharf As We Know It) in 2000: they’re four years younger than Shortis & Simpson!
So it’s a worry. We need to laugh politically at least once a year.