The Wellingtonista

Random stuff about Wellington since 2005

Review: PSA – Election 2020

by Emma Maguire on August 27, 2020 in Theatre

Has it really been a year since I last reviewed an interation of Public Service Announcements? Apparently so. The political satire is back, mixing COVID, controversy, and Election Night into one wild and very timely show.

Our actors take the stage with a parody of a well-known ABBA song, now rebranded as “MMP”. This trend of soun-alikes will continue for the rest of the piece, culminating in a parody of the Game of Thrones theme as one of the politicians (I bet you can’t guess who) rises from smoke at the top of the stage.

It’s been an absolutely hell year, both in politics and in the real world, but Public Service Announcements seems to take it in its stride, commenting on things that barely even happened a week ago in the political news cycle with alacrity and prescience.

Jacinda Ardern (Hannah Kelly) is basically running a cult, Judith Collins (Johanna Cosgrove) is turning all the members of her party into vampires and David Seymour (Sepelini Mua’au) is recruiting strangers off the street to join his party. James Shaw (Simon Leary) has started smoking an absolute shit-ton of weed, Winston Peters (Matu Ngaropo) has gotten into some sweet dance moves and Marama Davidson (Neenah Dekkers-Reihana) is trying desperately to get her party in line.

It’s all very good.

But that’s the thing with PSA, it’s always quality writing and excellent fun. Though dependent on your age you might not hit on all the jokes – there was one line about incels that I suspect I’m the only one who laughed at it – it’s a very good time, and you’ll definitely enjoy it.

There’s a delightful kind of weirdness to this show, an air of esoterica – Chloe Swarbrick has been possessed, Shane Jones is slowly mutating into some kind of homunculus, David Seymour seems to live in a recycling bin, and we’re not even going to start on the vampires – but it’s satire that hits, and it hits well. The performances are recognisable, and very strong – Cosgroves’ Collins being a noteable standout with her Wicked Witch of the West-esque vibes – and everyone seems to be having a very good time.

Like I said in last year’s review, National still wants to fuck roads.

(True to life there, then.)

My only regret is that I didn’t get additional tickets, because PSA is the kind of show you could see multiple times and still pick up new things. It’s sold out, but you can go on the waitlist by contacting them.

What a bloody good time.

Emma Maguire

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