Sir Joh's life set to music and dancing
THE life and times of Sir Joh Bjelke-Petersen will be chronicled in a new musical to run at Powerhouse in Brisbane, opening July 7.
Titled Joh for PM, the show's song and dance numbers will chart the rise and fall of the former Queensland Premier and satirise the events in Australia and around the world during Sir Joh's rein.
It was written by Brisbane-based playwright Stephen Carleton with score composed by Paul Hodge, who was responsible for a similar production about the Clinton family.
Colin Lane, famous for his role in the comedy duo Lano and Woodley and more recently as the host of Ready, Steady, Cook, will play Sir Joh.
Mr Lane said Sir Joh's era was unusual and intriguing.
"The script really whips along and his whole rise to power happens in the first 20 minutes,” he said.
"It's just an incredible, interesting story that happened quite recently.”
When it comes to approaching the demands of playing a character as big as Sir Joh, Mr Lane said the key was subtlety.
"I think they are looking at a representation not an impression, so I'm going to have elements of Sir Joh's personality and mannerisms but I'm not going for a Gerry Connelly-style impression.
"You don't want the audience sitting there thinking, 'he's not doing a very good Joh'.”
"I think this approach will appeal to a wider audience and it makes me feel a lot more relaxed about playing the role.”
Out at Bethany, Sir Joh's son John said he wasn't surprised when he heard about the production.
"Dad always loved seeing the ways in which cartoonists portrayed him,” Mr Bjelke-Petersen said.
"When he left office they lost one of their main characters.”
Mr Bjelke-Petersen said Sir Joh had a big impression on the state and country.
"People from all sides of politics had polarised views of my father,” he said.
"Either you loved him or your were the other way,” Mr Bjelke-Petersen said.