Jonathan Biggins stars as Paul Keating in The Gospel According To Paul.
Jonathan Biggins stars as Paul Keating in The Gospel According To Paul. Breatt Boardman.

Born leader in stage spotlight

"ONE man in a 3D unauthorised autobiography written by someone else."

That's how Jonathan Biggins describes his new one-man show about Paul Keating.

The show, The Gospel According To Paul, is wowing crowds and selling out during its current season.

Biggins has just finished a sell-out run, in Canberra no less, and will end with an already fast- selling Opera House season - but first he is bringing Paul in all his suit-wearing, clock-loving, wit and wisdom to the Glasshouse in Port Macquarie on Friday, May 10.

Writing and starring in a show about Keating isn't much of a stretch for Biggins. He's almost made a career out of playing the sharp-witted former Prime Minister in recent years.

He's well-known for his Keating work thanks to the long-running Sydney Theatre Company success story The Wharf Revue.

"In all my years writing and performing for the revue, one character has remained a constant favourite of the audience: Paul Keating," he said.

"Love him or hate him, he is universally recognised as a leader who not only had a vision for Australia but could articulate it, fight for it and, most importantly, deliver it.

"A razor-sharp wit who could destroy opponents with words alone, a romantic and a melancholic who bestrode the public stage yet remained intensely private.

"I can't think of a more entertaining or significant figure in recent Australian history with whom to spend an evening. All iceberg, no tip."

It's clear the audiences weren't the only ones who admired the Boy from Bankstown and it's hard not to hear the tone of admiration in Biggins' voice as he talks about both Keating the man and The Gospel According To Paul.

Biggins hopes he has created a funny, insightful and occasionally poignant portrait of Keating, the man who - as he tells it - single-handedly shaped contemporary Australia.

Not bad for a man who left school at 14 and never went to university.

The Gospel According To Paul attempts to showcase the ego, rhetoric and withering wit of the man Australia is still fascinated with.

And while one suspects the writing and wit of Biggins himself is a contributing factor to the sell out shows nearly everywhere the show has gone (though Biggins concedes he probably should have taken the Warren Truss story to Dubbo) the actor, writer, director believes its more the subject matter that has caught the public's imagination.

"I think it's him," he said matter-of-factly showing none of the ego of the man he portrays - a man who seems to fascinate us decades after he left Parliament.

"A whole new generation of people are following him on You Tube."

For more, go to glasshouse.org.au/ gospel2019.


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