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KEATING! THE MUSICAL: DVD

SYNOPSIS:
Part French farce, part Greek tragedy, and all Australian history, "the country soul opera we had to have" transports you back to a time less politically grey as it charts the rise, fall and rise again of an antique clock collector from Bankstown - Australia's one time Treasurer and Prime Minister, Paul Keating (Michael McLeish).

Review by Andrew L. Urban:
Keating! Was born in 2005 as a mostly comic show at the Melbourne Comedy Festival. Within a year it had blossomed into a musical and was picked up by Sydney's Belvoir St Company B, where Neil Armfield shaped it into something long lasting - and now forever digitally recorded on DVD.

Bob Hawke (Terry Serio) starts us off in 1990 with a nicely folksy number, wearing a white jacket stamped with Australia several times at several angles. It's instantly clear the show is out to entertain, poking loving fun at its subjects with abandon. Nothing too serious but some sharp lines here and there, as only smart songs can. We quickly meet Paul Keating (Mike McLeash) in trademark double breasted suit and get into the cabaret mood.

In Act 2, Brendan Coustler brings the house down in a fishnet stocking turn as Alexander Downer, and Terry Serio doubles as John Howard for good measure.

The political backdrop is used to give texture to the show, and the familiarity with recent history gives the film added grit. The production is superbly staged by Belvoir's Company B, and dramatically lit by Damien Cooper. It's a stage show and all the performances are geared to the live audience - somewhat larger than films require, but this doesn't detract.

Sizzling lyrics and bright contempo music with texture and variety drive the show forward; play it on the biggest screen you have, and turn up the volume.

Published March 26, 2009

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CRITICAL COUNT
Favourable: 1
Unfavourable: 0
Mixed: 0

KEATING! THE MUSICAL: DVD (M)
(Aust, 2008)

CAST: Mike McLeish, Terry Serio, Brendan Coustley, Robert Bertram, Alan Ilsar, Eden Ottington, Enio Pozzeban, Matthew Stuart, Mick Stuart

DIRECTOR: Neil Armfield

SCRIPT: Casey Bennetto

RUNNING TIME: 96 minutes

PRESENTATION: 16:9; DD 2.0 (recorded at the Seymour Centre, Sydney, August 13, 2008)

SPECIAL FEATURES: Audio commentary by Casey Bennetto, Mike McLeish, Enio Pozzebon; Paul Keating's curtain call; lyrics

DVD DISTRIBUTOR: Madman

DVD RELEASE: November 3, 2008







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