Q&A is the show we all love to hate. #Kwanda recreates it with a lot more honesty than you could ever hope was possible.
If you've never tuned to ABC TV at 9.30pm on a Monday night then you might miss some of the nuances of this spoof, but for vexed home viewers and the Twitterati who sit down and shout at the TV for an hour of heated political ‘discussion’, this is finally your chance to see your dreams turn to reality.
Tom Ballard (Tonightly) sits in as host Tony Jones (as he has done in reality) and introduces the usual suspects – a Liberal MP (Emily Taheny), a Labor MP (Patrick Livesey), a statistician, a member of the arts community and an independent, outspoken senator from Tasmania with a soft spot for veterans.
It all starts out fairly predictably, with each side trying to out-dinky di each other in the reality stakes, while the statistician (Ra Chapman) quotes polls, the muso (Michelle Brasier) wants everyone to forget about money and love each other, and the Tassie senator (played brilliantly by Geraldine Hickey) condemns everything as bullshit.
Set in timely fashion in the lead up to a federal election, the panel is set for a civilised debate on policies but matters soon turn to party divisions, musical chairs in the Prime Minister’s office and simmering tensions within the opposition.
Suddenly the program is interrupted by breaking news and, within minutes, the polite veneer of the panel is ripped away and no-one is spared as careers implode on live TV, jarring truths are exposed, underdogs find their voice and even the audience comes in for a roasting.
Every time you think you’ve heard the funniest line of the night and a dead-cert winning argument, another voice pops up to take it to a new level, until even the panel members are having trouble keeping straight faces.
Written by Tom Ballard, #Kwanda one of the best pieces of political satire aired in a long time and hopefully reignites his ABC-cursed career. The timing is epic, partly due to the skill of the performers, but fine-tuned no doubt by the deft hand of comic veteran Alan Brough, who is the director.
It’s glorious chaos that sadly would never make it past the kill button of live TV, so if you really want to witness what might happen on Q&A if people starting telling the truth, get along to #Kwanda. It’s the smartest, best guaranteed laugh of the festival.
A Token Event
by Tom Ballard
Director Alan Brough
Venue: Melbourne Town Hall, lower hall | 100 Swanston St Melbourne VIC
Dates: 30 March – 21 April 2019
Tickets: $28 – $35