Bill Clinton Hercules

Bill Clinton Hercules Adelaide Fringe 2016Presented by Central Standard Theatre. Bakehouse Theatre. 29 Feb 16


He's quite uncanny as Bill Clinton. He's not really like him.  But he's an actor. Silvering the hair, bouffing it up, adopting the Arkansas drawl and those contemplative hidden lip motions, capture much of the 42nd president of the United States of America.


But, on first night, what was missing was Clinton's direct engagement of his audience. Clinton looks everyone right in the eye. He connects in an unmistakably charismatic manner. Famously.  This Clinton, was wandering around the stage, looking at the ground, deep in thought. It was very odd.

It turns out, the actor, Bob Paisley, was trying to remember his lines.

First night seemed to have come before he was ready for it.


Thus it was that Rachel Mariner's wonderful script was delivered in bursts. It was a little distracting for audience members who also would lose the thread. But when he was good, he was very good.


And so it was that "Steve", up the back somewhere, was doing a lot of prompting, his Aussie accent stark and incongruous for the depth of Americana in this presentation.

The research on the script is very good, so much so in fact that there were pieces of information that were new to quite dedicated Clintonophiles. The premise and the show's name is a reflection of Clinton using the Greek classic heroes as role models - and recommending them to one and all as ways forward in the political landscape.


The TED-style talk touched on the old White House scandals, told gossipy insider stories, pondered war and bombs and the middle east, and talked of the great love affair of Bill and Hillary.

Oddly, opening remarks which touted Hillary for the best yet president, seemed to have faded as the script was ending, and he was portraying her as yet another political monster; something Bill Clinton never would do.


It is a pity director Guy Masterson had not drilled this fine member of his Fringe stable with more rehearsal of that brilliant script. It deserves to be heard. Teleprompters would not go astray.


Samela Harris


When: 29 Feb to 12 Mar

Where: Bakehouse Theatre


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