music / Canberra Symphony Orchestra Recital Series, with Julian Smiles and Dimity Hall, Wesley Uniting Church, Forrest, July 15. Reviewed by CLINTON WHITE
WHAT do Donald Trump, Kim Jong-un and Boris Johnson all have in common? One could say politics, stupid sayings or lousy policies, but if it’s not apparent, it’s bad haircuts.
The past year summed up as a song was always going to have a comical and satirical refrain, but the comedic duo of Shortis and Simpson gave a whole lot more.
There was singing, dancing, impersonations and, as a finale, a tribute to the musical brothers, George and Malcolm Young from the bands the Easybeats and AC/DC respectively, who died recently.
The duo opened with a tongue-in-cheek tune about the duelling, terrible haircuts of Donald Trump and Kim Jong-un, sung by Moya Simpson with John Shortis on piano.
Then there was a musical summary of recent political and social mishaps from the usual suspects of bad behaviour, poor manners and outright stupidity, which suggested that 2017 would have been better spent in a submarine to escape the nonsense.
Up next was a tribute to our beloved PM, Malcolm Turnbull, who they later referred to as “Talcom Murnbull” in a hilarious skit where they swapped the letters of people’s first and last names, such as Nick Xenophon to “Xick Nenophon”.
Turnbull’s tribute was sung to the tune of “Onward Christian Soldiers”, which somehow morphed into “All Things Bright and Beautiful”. It included a sum-up of Turnbull’s bold and arrogant sayings and about him losing his testicular fortitude.
Would Forign Affairs Minister Julie Bishop make a better PM, pondered Shortis and Simpson in a piece sung to the tune of Redgum’s anti-war hit “Only Nineteen”, which of course was twisted to reference the 19 men and one woman, Bishop, in the Tony Abbott’s 2013 Cabinet. It then segued into the appropriate Helen Reddy hit of “I am Woman”.
It was soon back to the bad haircuts, this time it was the “Blond Bombshell”, British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson, and a senator from WA, Michaelia Cash, she of the solid hair.
With just two performers on stage, it was possible for this setting to become dull or repetitious, but it almost never got into that territory. They kept it lively and entertaining throughout, which was much appreciated by the capacity audience.
After the interval, everyone from Abbott to Xenophon got the treatment, but a sad and poignant song about the plight of the Rohingya refugees hushed the vocal crowd.