- The musical we had to have.―TaglineHey, good evening, I’m PaulPleased to meet you allYou had some dinner to eat, now you got a good seatSee, there’s nothing wrong with being inner-city elite―Do it in Style
This show provides examples of the following tropes
- Acronym and Abbreviation Overload: from "The Arse End of the Earth"Evans: Another morning in the PMC noteWe’ve got the latest on the CAD noteIt’s only four percent of GDP noteBut it’s causing little tremors at the NAB noteYou want your funding for the AME? noteWe’ll have to sneak it past the ERC noteAnd the PMOnote observers of the GNE note are nervousIt’s another day of service in the ALP note
- The Annotated Edition: online annotations, detailing the political and historical context, can be found here
- Artistic License – History: the fact one number is titled "Historical Revisionism" rather gives it away.
- Bourgeois Bohemian: Keating himself. He also implies that the audience is this in "Do It In Style" (the phrase 'inner city elite' serves the same purpose in Australian political discourse).
- Call-and-Response Song: "Ruler of the Land."Keating: And they tell me I'm da man!Band: Who da man?Keating: Who da man?Band: You da man!Keating: Yes I am.
- Crosscast Role: Cheryl Kernot
- Dark Reprise: The melody from "The Beginning Is The End" is played again just before John Howard first appears.
- Deadpan Snarker: Keating.
- Decided By One Vote: the 1996 election comes down to this, as "one tiny booth on *whatever street this theatre is on*" wins the election for Keating.note
- Does This Remind You of Anything?: "I Wanna Do You Slowly" note , sung like Barry White would sing it:I wanna do you slowly – holy molyI wanna turn you inside out, upside down and roundaboutRoll you round like a cannoli – roly polyThen it’ll feel so rightOn election night
- Fun with Subtitles: The captioning on the DVD demonstrates a certain... casual attitude to accurately depicting repeated lines.
- Historical Hero Upgrade: which Bennetto cheerfully admits to.
- Historical Villain Upgrade: the Liberal politicians, which was perhaps inevitable (although there is a scale — Howard is portrayed as far more villainous than either Hewson or Downer). Also Bob Hawke, Keating's predecessor, who is portrayed as relying on Keating to maintain his government while breaking his promise to give him the Prime Ministership — however he does seem to come around in "It's Time."
- Hurricane Of Insults: a truly epic one from "On The Floor" (almost all of which are, fully or in part actual quotes of Keating)Oh no! They sent the Doctor to get us!It’s like being flogged with warm lettuce and cabbages!The feral abacus! Come to savage us!He must be ravenous! Ravenous!‘Mister Mediocrity, from the bunyip aristocracy’,the Member for Wentworth should be in bed,he’s like a lizard on a rock – alive, but lookin’ dead.Old Dozy knows when I’ve got ‘im,he always turns around when I drop one on ‘im,it’s somethin’ he can’t psychologically handle,him and his band of constitutional vandals.Drones and pansies, frauds and mugs,blackguards, harlots, pigs and thugs,you mindless stupid foul-mouthed grubs,you couldn’t even raffle a chook in a pub!Barnyard bullies, crims and ghouls, dullards, dimwits,ninnies, clowns and fools and born-to-rules,over here we’re born to rule you,you dishonest crew, you almost make me spew!Loopy intellectual hoboes!Brain-damaged dummies and desperadoes!Hare-brained hillbilly cheats! cheats! cheats!They'll always be cheats! cheats! cheats!Useless motley corporate crooks and clots!Stunned-mullet rustbucket boxheads!Scumbags! And alley cats!You wanna fight back?Fight back! Fight back from that!
- "I Am" Song: "My Right Hand Man" for Hawke (although as you can tell by the title, it's also largely about Keating), "Do it in Style" for Keating, the first part of "On the Floor" for Hewson, "Freaky" for Downer, and "Power" for Howard. "Ruler of the Land" is half this and half an "I Want" Song.
- Ironic Echo: the words "comfy bloody country", which appear in both "My Right Hand Man" (the first song after the overture) and "The Light On The Hill" (the second last song).
- "I Want" Song: "I Remember Kirribilli", "It's Time" for Keating, as well as the aforementioned "Ruler of the Land." "Power" for Howard.
- Just for Pun: in "The Beginning is the End", the line "the Bodgie is dislodged" refers both to Hawke being dislodged as leader, but also to being forced to move out of the Prime Minister's official residence, the Lodge.
- Lame Comeback: Hewson's response to the aforementioned Hurricane Of Insults — "Your mum's a... bitch."
- Large Ham: Keating, in about half the songs. Hawke, Downer and Evans in all of theirs.
- Mood Whiplash: Despite being very similar tunes about the same issue (Aboriginal reconciliation), there is a ton of this between "Redfern" and "Ma(m)bo." The former is based off Keating's famous Redfern Speech. The latter is him celebrating the Mabo decision. The change from the upbeat "Ruler Of The Land" to the foreboding "The Beginning Is The End" is another example.
- Mythology Gag: the Musical is a never-ending series of them. Even the tagline is a play on an infamous remark of Keating's, when he described the Australian recession of the early Nineties as "the recession we had to have."
- The '90s: The time frame in which all the action takes place (the first song is explicitly set in 1990, the last explicitly in 1996).
- No Fourth Wall: Keating calls himself "the star of the show", the last ballot booth to return its vote is implied to be the theatre where the show is playing, and the characters frequently interact with the audience (including during "Freaky" Downer giving an audience member a lap dance, at least on the DVD).
- Not Named in Opening Credits: Casey Bennetto is named as the writer and composer, but not identified for his singing role. (He provides the voice of Gough Whitlam, the 'ghostly voice' in "The Beginning Is The End".)
- Real Person Cameo: in the performance seen on the DVD, Paul Keating and Cheryl Kernot were both in the audience. Keating joins the cast onstage after the show (in the special features); Kernot is the bespectacled blonde woman seen laughing at "Heavens, Mr Evans".
- Rose Tinted Narrative: The writer himself described it as "ridiculously pro-Keating."
- Rule of Three: The three opponents that Keating faces - it was realising that there were three that originally inspired the writing of this musical.
- "On The Floor": "Doctor Who? Doctor Hewson!". The Doctor Who theme also plays at the start.
- "Arse End of the Earth": The line "With the possible exception of the ABC" is followed by The ABC's three-note station identity theme.
- "The Mateship": The musical interludes as John Howard changes costumes are the theme from the "Life Be In It" fitness campaign, the 1812 Overture (used in ads for the Australian Army), and a mash-up of "The Road to Gundagai" and "Click Go the Shears".
- Shown Their Work: so, so much.
- Slobs Versus Snobs: Bob Hawke is a slob, Paul Keating is a snob, as Hawke's lyrics in "My Right Hand Man" demonstrate:In fact, he's quite peculiar
If that's for me to say,
A little un-Australian
In his own endearing way
I take him to the footynote
But his eyes aren't on the ball
And in his private parlor,
He plays the works of Mahler
The strangest sounds cascading down the hall
It doesn't sound like Billy Thorpe at all!
- The Smurfette Principle: The only female character is Cheryl Kernot (a Crosscast Role). Lampshaded by John Howard in "The Mateship":Why, even now, I look around, I see no women on the stage
- The Starscream: Keating himself, though portrayed enormously sympathetically.
- Subverted Rhyme Every OccasionKeating: That's why I dress to impressWhen I'm on a road to successHey Bobby J, just get out of my wayI know the answer is,I know the answer is,I know the answer is,Hawke: Ehhhhhh....
- Triumphant Reprise: "Historical Revisionism" is one of these for "Ruler of the Land."
- Used to Be a Sweet Kid: Howard says this of himself.
- Villainous Crossdresser: Alexander Downer (in reference to a famous photo of Downer in fishnights and high-heels for a charity radio competition).
- Villain Song: "Power" and "The Mateship", which are John Howard's two songs. "Freaky" would count as this for Alexander Downer if it wasn't such a Big Lipped Alligator Moment.
- When the Planets Align: mentioned in "The Light On The Hill":But still I dreamThat the stars will be aligning,As our fates are inter-twining
- Your Mom: see Lame Comeback.