Gasping at Flaws, Ben Elton’s Gasp Review

The main concern I had with Gasp in the first half, was that it wasn’t bad enough. It was pretty ordinary, the jokes were generally average and the hammered in WA references were often excruciating, (cut them all out) and it was very shouty, but initially it wasn’t the stinker I didn’t pay good money for. Certainly not as bad as the two Wintons I saw at this beautiful theatre. I quite liked the bits and pieces sliding in and out for the set changes and Damon was pretty good as Hugh Laurie, but it was just not terrible enough. I could see it would have possibly worked as TV, but on stage, no.

Fortunately after the break Gasp totally died in the arse. Well thank god for that. The letter from the American Indian, the Gina Rheinhart and Clive Palmer jokes, (please cut them all)  – it all failed in a way the first half just couldn’t achieve. I guess you want to know whether Ben Elton wore shoes for the curtain call? Yes, he did, although fairly high heeled. And I didn’t see another soul apart from myself wearing a cravat. Fucking pigs. So all in all, I was disappointed in the level of disappointment at first at least. And it’s difficult to know why Black Swan, (Still unaccountably sticking with the sniffing the swan’s arse logo) would want this production. Why would they ask Ben Elton to rewarm a 25 year old play by adding some Tim Tam and (again) Gina jokes? And why would Ben do it? It’s all very well commissioning Tim Winton and assumedly a busload of dramaturgs to bodge up a ghost aborigine piece. But this? Why? Very odd. Are they going to add references to Prix D’Amour, Rose Hancock and Colin Barnett’s shark policy to the Noel Coward they are bringing out next year? That’s what this was like. If the play is classic enough to revive, then it is classic enough not to have forced Perth jokes rammed in every few seconds. Much more interestingly, they were giving away free copies of The West in the lobby. Those better not show up on the circulation figures Kerry. I was astonished to find that Bunbury was to become an Asian Hollywood. Or should that be Asian Bollywoood? That doesn’t sound right either. But in any case, True Story.bunbury

About AHC McDonald

Comedian, artist, photographer and critic. From 2007 to 2017 ran the culture and satire site The Worst of Perth
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28 Responses to Gasping at Flaws, Ben Elton’s Gasp Review

  1. Plonka says:

    I want to know what happened to Eskimo Joe. From the looks of that picture the rest of that sentence could be ” to find himself on fire”.


  2. Shreiking Wombat Ninja says:

    Great review. Why FO can’t get you a gig at WSW I’ll never understand. Secret J** business I guess.


  3. skink says:

    the scenery changes were indeed the best bit. The man sitting next to me spent long periods of the first act discussing with his wife how they might have done it. The magic of theatre, and two conveyor belts.

    I was waiting for the cast to do an OK Go dance routine as they slid offstage.

    I was surprised that Elton updated the jokes, but left the sexual politics back in the 1980’s. A woman sleeping her way up the corporate ladder?


  4. Anonymous says:

    This will show Channel 9! Philistines.


  5. Patrickb says:

    Spaceport? Swan Valley Disneyland? Bunbury Bollywood? The West a newspaper? Existentialism.


  6. Don Smith says:

    We’re going on the 8th November. With some luck it might get worse.


  7. you'll get wet says:

    Off topic but much mythmaking in Albany that should qualify for a Worst Of category somewhere. The WA guys who returned from WW1 voted to secede from Australia 15 years later, along with 68% of the population. So much for Nation Building. But shhh don’t tell anyone eh


  8. you'll get wet says:

    Gina jokes?

    Why is Gina like a mine? You can drive a haulpak in or fly in fly out.

    Why did Red Dog bum rides to the mines? Coz he was Fido not Fifo

    How did Red Dog become the littlest hobo? Gina replaced him with a Pekinese


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