Wednesday, 28 July 1999

A Major Event: Rod Quantock, July 28 1999

The Final Report from the Comedian General on the state of the State Written and performed by Rod Quantock at Trades Hall until September 4, 1999
Reviewer: Kate Herbert

The words "politics" and "absurd" should be incompatible but Rod Quantock provides plenty of evidence to the contrary. To our left-leaning Comedian General, the phrase "democratic Victoria" is an oxymoron. In fact, the state  he believes the state is filled with several brands of ordinary morons.

Can it be true that this is Rod's Final Report on the State of the State? After years of acerbic political satire, Quantock says he is hanging up his chalk and blackboard and handing in his anti-Kennett placard. I don't believe him. I don't want to believe that, just because everything has been sold off in Victoria, he has no more to say.

The title, A Major Event, should at least get him a government grant. No. Not possible evidently because he is a vigorous government critic. His popularity, then, should place the event on the state's calendar. No. He doesn't drive ridiculously fast cars or cut down trees or design huge pointy buildings nor knock over heritage terraces.

He doesn't own newspapers or casinos or banks. He is not part of the 60% who approve of Jeff. He doesn't have Alan Stockdale's eyebrows or John Laws voice or Packer's money.

Do you get my drift? Quantock is one in a million - 18 million actually. His is a finely honed mind and he has created another intelligent, informed, charming yet worrying show. It is also screamingly funny..

The old chalkboard makes its final appearance in the appallingly designed Council Chambers at the Trades Hall. Quantock scrawls his creative equations, eccentric diagrams and mad theories all over the board until everything is overwritten and interwoven. Power, money, privatisation, E-Tag and poker machines all blur into one great catastrophe that is Victorian politics: tragic and somehow hilarious.

He says there is nothing more to be done. Marches do not work. Victorians could not even muster the energy to publicly protest over the elimination of tram conductors much less that of trams, hospitals or schools. 

He finishes this, his "last" show, (think of Melba's farewell gigs) with a call for solutions to the problem from the audience.  Even if you voted for Jeff, you might have to laugh. If not, we are truly doomed to a laugh-free zone into the next millennium.

By Kate Herbert

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