The Wharf Revue team have been entertaining audiences nationwide with their political satire for over two decades.
But, according to writer Jonathan Biggins, the only thing that’s changed is the voices.
“Politics is a bit like sport, in that the rules stay the same, but there’s always new characters and people playing the games,” he said.
“Even though some of the issues have virtually been there since the beginning, because there’s a never-ending cast of colourful characters, that’s what keeps the show going.”
Over the years, it would be fair to say that no politician has been safe, with names such as Julia Gillard, Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump copping a song or two.
In this year’s show, ‘The Wharf Revue: Looking For Albanese’, Australia’s newest Prime Minister is in the spotlight, as the cast investigate what kind of leader he’ll be after almost a decade spent under a Liberal government.
Mandy Bishop, who is performing in the show alongside Biggins, as well as Drew Forsythe and Phillip Scott, said that such a versatile character couldn’t be portrayed by just one actor, with Albanese instead being brought to life by all four of them at different times.
“Throughout the show there’s one through line, and that is that Albanese is an everyman, so what version of everyman is he?” she said.
“We might find him in an aged care home, we have Albo Baggins and the Mountain of Debt, which is a ‘Lord of the Rings’ themed financial discussion with Jim Chalmers who may or may not have a touch of elf, we have Albo in Wonderland, and then we finish with Inner West Side Story.”
The team assures that Albanese isn’t their only victim, with a skit portraying the Greens as the Wiggles, now with some extra spice, appearances from international politicians like Boris Johnson, and some of the team’s personal favourites, with Bishop’s being Jacqui Lambie and Biggins’ King Charles III.
Though reception has been overwhelmingly positive since they opened in Canberra late last year, Biggins notes there’s nothing quite like approval from the man himself.
“In Sydney, we had our first ever visit from a sitting Prime Minister – Mr Albanese came to watch the show,” he said.
“That was a bit of an exciting night for everyone, audience included. He stayed afterwards and had a chat.”
Having just wrapped up in Wollongong, the team couldn’t be more excited to head up to their most vocal Sydney audience, right here in Penrith.
“We’ve been doing Penrith for a long time – in fact it’s probably one of our longest touring venues,” he said.
“COVID took a bit of a knock on our last time there, and the time before, so this time, hopefully audiences will be back to feeling a little bit safer coming back out and enjoying themselves.”
As for what audiences can expect from the show, it’s set to be the usual pressure valve release from the awfulness of the world, culminating in a good laugh.
“Hopefully we can provide some hope,” Bishop said.
“You’ve kind of got to look back, look down, and look up all in one.”
‘The Wharf Revue: Looking for Albanese’ will be on at The Joan in Penrith on Thursday, March 9 to Saturday, March 11 at 7.30pm and on Saturday, March 11 at 2pm. Tickets are $70. For more information or to book, visit thejoan.com.au.
Cassidy Pearce is a news and entertainment journalist with The Western Weekender. A graduate of the University of Technology Sydney, she has previously worked with Good Morning Macarthur and joined the Weekender in 2022.