Where does one start with a character such as Pauline Hanson? To some she is the voice of a nation, and to others she is considered to be a racist-xenophobic (please explain …). For a woman who created a party called One Nation over twenty years ago, reaction to her politics has seemed to create more divide and hostility than ever.

This week in Parliament for example, Senator Penny Wong was challenged by Liberal politician Mathias Cormann – saying Penny “always likes channeling Senator Hanson”. Penny responded with appropriate verve, “…we don’t channel Pauline Hanson…she (Hanson) stood up in Parliament, and made a speech saying people like me (Wong) are in danger of swamping Australia…. I find your comment personally offensive.”

Pauline Hanson has had a way of lighting a fire and causing reaction since her entering the political arena from her notorious Fish and Chip shop in Ipswich, QLD, 1994. Accompanied by her two right wing men David Oldfield and David Ettridge, The One Nation Australia Party makes a stand for Australian nationalism, conservatism, right-wing populism, economic nationalism, anti-immigration, anti-multiculturalism, anti-Islam, and anti-establishment. With all these anti’s, the party’s slogan is “People Before Politics” – well ‘people’ that are of a ‘particular’ background, it seems. In the Queensland state election, 1998 – the One Nation Party had a legislative assembly increase of 22.7%, making quite an impact. In following years it plummeted, however now seems to be on the rise again at 13.7%.

Pauline’s commentary on today’s Australia ignites and continuously provokes underlying tensions. When asked what she thought of the opening ceremony of The Commonwealth Games 2018, Senator Hanson said the twenty minutes devoted to indigenous culture was “absolutely disgusting” and “Our country is not based on the Aboriginals. Our country is what it is because of the migrants that have come here,” and “I’ve got nothing against the Aboriginals but I’m sick and tired of being made to feel as if I’m a second-class citizen in my own country.”

People seem to either adore Pauline Hanson, or definitively stand against her and her politics. One thing is for certain – Hanson is an unforgettable Australian public figure of our time, and Flaming Howard Productions is presenting Pauline’s rise to political stardom as the basis for their production The Colour Orange in all their magnificent musical glory.

I was thrilled to have the opportunity to see their production The Colour Orange: The Musical since it had a fantastic response at The Sydney and Adelaide Fringe Festival’s in 2017. As part of The Sydney Comedy Festival 2018, The Colour Orange played to eager and energetic audiences, ready to be entertained at The Giant Dwarf Theatre, Redfern – and Flaming Howard Productions did not disappoint. All the performers and musicians (The Flaming Howards) were a delight to watch. Each actor played Pauline at different stages of her career – and all the actors were obviously enjoying every moment and play with the audience. Some songs were absolutely hilarious, including “The Colour Orange”, “Dancing With the Stars”, and their last number, “Isn’t it Fun to Laugh”.

The Colour Orange: The Musical is thoroughly entertaining in its satire, and I am quite sure sparked many a conversation as to the politics of our time. Like their subject matter – this production is colourful and memorable – I am very much looking forward to the next show by Flaming Howard Productions.

The Colour Orange was on until 19 May at Giant Dwarf Theatre, for more information see: https://www.facebook.com/flaminghowardproductions/

Featuring: Kiralee Elliott, Liam Ferguson, Gabi Kelland, Zach Selmes, Zara Stanton, Victoria Zerbst, Oli Cameron, Ben Secrett, Hugh Guest, Olga Solar, Conrad Hamill, Shane Ben

Creative/Tech Team: Oli Cameron (writer/director/composer), Sophia Roberts (writer/director), Lisa Hresc (executive producer), Chloe Pryce (associate producer), Eden Tollis (associate producer), Liam Ferguson (graphic design), Shakira Wilson (backstage manager/logo design), Zac Ruokari (technical manager) and Elliot Morgan (backstage assistant).


This Month in Sydney

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Did you miss out on the Japanese Film Festival (JFF), or simply love Japanese cinema? Enjoy Japanese films on the big screen with new JFF Fringe special screenings!

Featuring box office hits from the past year, JFF Fringe is a series of monthly Japanese film screenings, which runs from May to August. This season presents award-winning titles such as ‘In This Corner of the World’ and ‘The Long Excuse’, explosive action-comedy in ‘Gintama’, and the Australian premiere of fantasy period film ‘Honnouji Hotel’.

Tickets can be purchased online or at the participating cinema’s box office. Online booking fees may apply. All films are in Japanese with English subtitles.