On the Couch with Jonathan Biggins

Jonathan Biggins Arts Review On the CouchWho is Jonathan Biggins?
Jonathan is an actor, writer, director and political satirist with a level of fame that means you need to ask that question.

What would you do differently to what you do now?
I would drop the political satire because it has to be the most depressing job in the world. I recently spent two weeks with no media – social, electronic or otherwise – and it was the best two weeks in a very long time.

Who inspires you and why?
Scientists and engineers. They do fascinating and useful things that I wish I could. They’re also in the unique position of being able to either destroy or save the world. Sadly, the choice is usually not theirs.

What would you do to make a difference in the world?
Probably the best thing most people could do for the world is expire but that’s not very positive, is it? If I could, I would invent something that renders all gunpowder and explosives inert. Might set the mining industry and New Year’s Eve in Sydney back a few years but otherwise the benefits could be enormous.

Favourite holiday destination and why?
Venice, in one of those all but deserted quarters where I could pretend I’m not a tourist either. Or a beachside caravan park – I’ve only stayed in one but it was fantastic.

When friends come to town, what attraction would you take them to, and why?
The Opera House, because it’s a building that still gives me a thrill every time I go to work in it.

What are you currently reading?
Restoration by Rose Tremain. It was a hit in 1989 but I’m very slow to catch up. Otherwise, crime thrillers and the New Yorker, to share that moral outrage and punctured smugness.

What are you currently listening to?
Brett Hampden, Charlie Stetz and Bud Lomax recorded live at the Zanzi Bar, East Village in 1968. Actually, I just made that up but I read the music reviews in the New Yorker and they sound so cool, surely they can’t be real! Also enjoying the Luke Howard Trio (they are real).

Happiness is?
Often remembered well after the event. I’d have to say the usual – family and friends, preferably in measured doses. But oddly enough, I’m quite an optimistic person and enormous fun to be around.

What does the future hold for you?
I suspect much the same as yesterday and today with an increased level of niggling pain.

Jonathan Biggins won the 2010 Helpmann Award for Best Direction of a Musical for his production of Avenue Q. Other credits include Noises Off and The Republic of Myopia for Sydney Theatre Company, Flatfoot for Ensemble Theatre, Orpheus in the Underworld for Opera Australia and Opera South Australia, and Pete the Sheep for Monkey Baa – which earned a Helpmann Award nomination for Best Presentation for Children.

Additional credits include: Sydney Theatre Company’s Actor on a Box series The Tale Maker and The Luck Child – which won the 2012 Sydney Critics Award for Best Children’s Theatre Work, and also a touring production of Australia Day for Hit Productions. He has also directed many of the Wharf Revue productions, on top of being one of the creators. In 2015, Jonathan both wrote and directed the 2015 Helpmann Awards.

Jonathan will be directing CDP Kids production of Mr Stink – opening at the Seymour Centre on 27 February 2017, ahead of a comprehensive national tour throughout Australia.

Image: Jonathan Biggins