Satirists don’t usually last for years but this little team at the Sydney Theatre Company is now into its 13th show.
Writers Jonathan Biggins, Phillip Scott and Drew Forsythe are distinguished at least by a consistent standard, especially in their witty lyrics and singing skills under Scott’s musical direction.
Also performers, Forsythe and Biggins are always the funniest, with the sharpest topical impersonations, presumably because they’re confident with their own material.
They’re joined onstage by Genevieve Lemon and, this time, a handsome newcomer Michael Falzon who helps lift further this standard of musical theatre.
Best We Forget begins and ends with a rousing anthem to Howard’s Ten Glorious Years. In song, sketch and sometimes on screen, Howard and his fellows on the right are the major targets -“ but then what satirist bothers pricking the pomposity of the non-powerful? Beazley and his federal mates are barely mentioned.
There is, however, a riotous mafia-style send-up of the NSW Labor Right gathering in a dark room in Sussex Street, called The Unelectables. Next we’re promised Jane Austin’s I-emma.
The comic genius mostly comes early in the show, as when Forsythe as Kamahl sings his Howard-loving ballad forbidding those with dark skins from entering Australia.
A fine send-up of the ABC’s so-called Latteline sports Forsythe as the rambling human encyclopedia, Barry Jones, and Biggins as the weak-chinned assassin, Paul Keating.
Forsythe and Biggins also return hilariously as that daggy duo of Democrats, seemingly the only ones left, in their socks and sandals and high-waisted shorts, searching for a quorum.
The genius though is really the songs. Standout examples are the Beach Boys version of Lebanese Surfer or the brilliant Cole singers, harmonising perfectly about the inquiry into the sins of the Wheat Board.
Some sketches this time around lack the lateral wit and the instant comic focus of earlier shows, like their lengthy spoof on Bollywood and the nuclear industry, A Back Passage To India.
Hot gay banter behind the alliance between the presidents of America and Pakistan, like a couple out of Brokeback Mountain, did help win us back.
Elsewhere the professionalism sinks sometimes to the standard of high school revue. In all, not their best and greatest show, but still a delight for those in love with TV news and topicality.
Best We Forget is at the STC Wharf Two until 10 July.