Returning to the Astor Theatre stage after last year’s sold-out War on 2018 tour, Australia’s favourite political satire group, The Chaser, is back. This year, The Chaser’s Charles Firth teamed up with The Shovel’s James Schloeffel to shed some facetious light on the upcoming Federal Election.
With May 18th lurking around the corner, and rivaling political campaigns (stunts) becoming more brazen by the day, The War on the F*#king Election 2019 couldn’t have come at a better time.
Despite missing the first five minutes of the show, we hardly missed out on the laughs. Firth and Shloeffel started off by recapping the major and minor party leaders, underlining the ever-changing face of the Liberal party, and the tediously unremarkable personality of Bill Shorten—oh, and Richard Di Natale as a cabbage. A particular cracker was the dig at Scott Morrison’s success at keeping people from entering the country in his role as a PM, as well as his efforts as the Tourism Minister.
We then moved onto the policies and branding. I’m a big fan of puns, so the Greens “recycling” their policies from previous years was chuckle-worthy. We also got to gawk at Labor’s biggest campaign asset—Bill Shorten’s wife, Chloe.
The less amusing segments for me were the live poll updates with ABC’s Mark Humphries, as well as how to be a “female” in the Liberal Party by Victoria Zerbst and Jenna Owen (The Feed, SBS). As feminist Ann Summers once said, misogyny is “the hallmark of the Liberal Party”, but the female duo’s take on this was neither clever, nor funny—walking on and off the stage in different wigs was hardly the snide wit I had hoped for. It didn’t get much better for Zerbst and Owen, in the second part of the show. Their ‘comedy’ trailer for an Australian politics Netflix documentary-drama was pretty ‘eh’.
The discussion of our Senators was a mixed bag. The infamous favourites, like Bob Katter and his interview segue from gay marriage to croc attacks, and Lucy Gichuhi’s “next question” viral video, were definitely a hit with the audience. Fraser Anning and eggs were also mentioned. However, the scrutiny towards less known Senators were somewhat a miss.
As expected, One Nation copped their fair share of peppered banter, topped off with a live audience ‘Are you a member of One Nation?’ quiz. Though somewhat entertaining, I had hoped for a little more tongue-in-cheek.
Keep in mind that I am definitely a tough critic to impress; I relish in dark, dry, satirical and subtle humour, which is difficult to nail on the head. I must admit, however, The War on the F*#king Election had me chuckling or grinning throughout the most part. I wouldn’t recommend this show to those that don’t pay much attention to politics, of course, but for those that do, this is a great way to tear up with laughter—or genuinely cry—at the state of Australian politics.
Remaining dates for The War on the F*#king Election 2019 can be found here.