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Alexandra Patrikios writes:

As the curtain went down on Richard III in Melbourne last week, I have to say, the parallel was striking.

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Shakespeare’s ‘bottled spider’ had spent a good two hours scuttling across the stage, scheming his way to the top in a clever modernisation of the Bard’s foremost political study. And although it was a world away from the Globe Theatre, I found myself thinking of Question Time.

Is now the winter of parliament’s discontent?

We’ve got a sullen Liberal Hamlet in Malcolm Turnbull, decked out in an inky cloak of ideological incompatibility, watching his one-time Queen (and deputy) jump into incestuous sheets with yet another leader.

We’ve got a veritable Macbeth in Abbott with his combative, physical style of leadership and apparent fear of environmental threats. (Tony just better watch that Green Army of his doesn’t turn out to be another Great Birham Wood on the march.)

Across the floor, Julia Gillard patiently lingers in the wings like a beloved Cordelia. Either that, or she’s the less patient Brutus…

You’ve even got to consider if Adele and Troy qualify as the resident Romeo and Juliet — the political equivalent of floor-crossing lovers from opposing sides of the partisan divide.

So Troy, the question begs, would a seat, by any other name, smell as sweet?

We’ve even got a Bottom in Barnaby.

From backflips to dummy-spits, it seems the theatre of politics is alive and well.

Set against the wood-panelled walls of an unspecified party room, the MTC production of Richard III used a cleverly constructed rotating set to show off the modern possibilities of the stage. Which was all well and good, until the turntable mise en scéne shuddered to a halt halfway through a scene, leaving all the actors onstage in an awkward, unplanned tableaux. But as I watched their stiff, suspended smiles, I wasn’t thinking of a refund.

I was thinking of a few other ambitious ideas that have stalled in their execution of late: pink bats; the ETS; the schools building program; border protection…

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Peter Fray
Peter Fray
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