If you were in Australia in 2013 it would have been impossible to have missed at least a passing mention of the doping scandal that engulfed Essendon Football Club.
Whether you cared a fig about the legality of its supplements program is another matter, but it won’t stop you enjoying this original and entertaining saga, because Kit Richards, who managed to make Australia’s grazing history interesting in her earlier production Wool! A History of Australia’s Wool Industry: The Musical, has a talent for making otherwise dull stories fun and interesting. And for writing good songs.
For those with no interest in footy or understanding of what happened, Richards’ one-hour musical is a good chance to catch up.
And for die-hard fans who share her one-eyed view of the whole sad affair, this is a moment to rail against past injustices and mourn the team’s loss.
There’s some technical references to ASADA and WADA and other characters you may not be familiar with, but the backing band floats in and out of the show, explaining odd bits or asking leading questions to link sections. The brilliant choice of name – Band Substances – reflects the nerdy, rather cute humour. It features Elly Hewitt on lead guitar, Dom Buckham on bass & Kelly Dingeldei on drums. All sing as well. The talented team works well together and riff off each other nicely – their friendship is palpable.
Richards was born to a Bomber-fanatic dad was raised in the red and black and her happy place is at the MCG in their regular seats, surrounded by The Bombers Family. So seeing her team pilloried by the press, fined, penalized and finally banned hit very hard on many levels; even wearing team colours on the street became cause for cruel comments.
So her account of the incident may be slightly biased, and friends of Stephen Dank or Caroline Wilson might not agree with her take, but everyone else with get a good laugh out of it. Plus there’s some damn fine music involved.
Kit Richards presents
Scandal! A Reflection on Essendon’s Doping Saga: The Musical?
Director Lucy Rees
Venue: Trades Hall | 54 Victoria St, Carlton, Vic
Dates: 25 March – 4 April 2021
Tickets: $24 – $29
Bookings: (03) 9245 3788 | www.comedyfestival.com.au