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This first plank of my evil plan to archive my old facebook notes on this blog. No password, since this post discloses no private information.

Wow reading my old note brings back memories. That was a great night. Incredibly pompous theater with friends, followed by exotic Lebanese food where they refused to give us tobacco. My recommendation as an economist to be: watch this if you can.

[Archived facebook note follows]

Originally posted Nov 28, 2007 at 2:52pm

To celebrate the victory of a faux economic conservative, there was but one choice- to watch the Musical We Had To Have- a celebration of a real economic conservative- the Honourable Paul John Keating.

Keating is a brilliant and witty production. It begins by following Keating’s life from his own personal wages break-out from Bankstown to become the beloved patron of the arts, and stretches all the way to the rapid disinflation of his career. (Those of you unfortunate enough not to do an economics major may miss the puns in that last sentence.)

Not only does it incorporate many of Keating’s best one-liners as songs, it creates new one liners: “Have you noticed the suit?” which are so very Keatingesque. The famed arrogance is immediately apparent- a lackadaisical Keating reclined against a wall describing himself for those few unfamiliar with his fame, and continues throughout in songs like “Ruler of the Land”, whose chorus is “who is the man- you’re the man!”.

I’m not normally one to focus on the technical aspects of productions but I was most impressed with the innovative use of the sparse props and stage space. Keating himself would have been most impressed with such innovation. The sheer range of music was great, and this musical has the distinction of being the only thing ever to make me enjoy a rap song. The actors’ facial expressions were brilliant, and I’m amazed I could tell what they were expressing from so far away.

But its not all flash and glitter. Like Keating himself, there are glaring faults. I’m quite sympathetic to the conservative criticism by eg. Andrew Bolt, that lefty type productions needlessly indulge in swearing and filth for the heck of it. Downer’s “I’m so freaky” song could have been cut in half and used perhaps only as a one-liner, though obviously the outrageousness of the performance was a part of the joke. Whilst I’m on the topic of criticism, I should say that Peter Hartcher is a true philistine. Apparently he said that this musical was historically inaccurate. What? Keating didn’t win in 1996, well blow me down! He is truly all tip and no iceberg.

I’m sure I missed a lot of references, but there are references aplenty that I understood. Cheryl Kernot’s great line: “you’re my foreign affair!” and Keating’s “so fight back” then pushing Hewson off the stage were amongst the highlights. Unlike Rudd, it really inspires one to fight for what’s right. I must admit that song near the end “The Light on the Hill” made me a bit emotional. Solid stuff. Go watch it now, the profits won’t go to ALP Head Office or union thugs.

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