Shortis and Simpson’s brand is safe with this latest topical offering, which provides plenty of laughs and many gentle jabs at Canberra’s more itinerant population. Rhyming Gillard with ‘kill hard’ and pointing out some of the delicious ironies of our new parliament (such as the two Wyatts and one Wong), these veterans of the Canberra stage were as amusing as ever, keeping the audience enthralled throughout.

Shortis and Simpson have built a strong reputation for presenting topical and up-to-date political satire, much of it based on popular culture, but all of it related to the politics of the day. This is a risky business, demonstrated by their lamentations about the fate of their latest album, Cabaret Politico, about the ‘Reign of Rudd’ and completed less than a week before Kevin Rudd’s hasty departure from the Lodge. This album, which began as political satire, has become a historical document, and judging from the songs performed in this show, they’re even funnier in the context of what followed.
Whether for the purpose of warning or boasting, Moira Simpson opened at Old Canberra House by telling the audience that this was their first show since the election. This was also the first cabaret performance at the newly-opened Ivy Cafe in Old Canberra House. Though it is not quite perfect as a venue for cabaret, it is intimate, and affords fine acoustic qualities.
The highlight of A Well Hung Parliament, though, is most certainly their treatment of Julia Gillard. Both the ballad of the singular school student who received a quarter of a million dollars worth of revolution and the more biting satire that followed it demonstrate the best of Shortis and Simpson’s ability to see the funny side of politics. Indeed, I suspect that an extended period in their company might convince the more astute that the entire political machine was established for the sole purpose of providing material for satirists. If this were the case, I should think it money well spent.


Shortis and Simpson present
A Well Hung Parliament

Venue: Ivy Cafe, Old Canberra House, Lennox Crossing, Acton
Dates: Fri October 22, Sat Oct 23, 2010
Times: 8.30pm | Doors open 6.30pm.
Tickets: $30 show only
Bookings: 6257 0605

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