Theatre and arts news

THE story of how Redcliffe nearly became the capital of Queensland is the subject of The Great Shove Off, a zany new mockumentary by local filmmaker Richard Lancaster.

Inspired by the Horrible Histories franchise Lancaster (who directed the film) and his pals have created a kind of Carry On version of Queensland history with Redcliffe as the focus.

Lancaster, who lives at Clontarf on the Redcliffe Peninsula, thinks the area might have made a fine capital and for a while there it looked like it would be.

Matthew Flinders had discovered the Redcliffe Peninsula in 1799 and in 1824 it was chosen as the site of a new penal colony.

“But the mosquitoes were bad, the water was no good and there was no good port there so they moved to what is now Brisbane,” Lancaster says.

He reckons a lot of people don’t know about this history which is why he has made this low-budget ($10,000) film, which has its world premiere with two session at Redcliffe on Wednesday.

The film has a stellar cast – well not that stellar actually – but you will recognise some names with cameos by the likes of Channel Nine’s Shane Doherty who plays Duncan Donut, the world’s foremost celebrity agent in the 1820s.

Poet Rupert McCall is also in it and he plays Judge Ben Dover and that really does sound like a character from a Carry On film.

There are raunchy wenches, cranky convicts, warlike indigenous warriors and Lancaster himself turns up as the colonial secretary.

“I’m doing an Alfred Hitchcock,” he says.

He means he appears in cameo, not that the film is a masterpiece.

Still it sounds like fun so if you have some time on your hands today head for Redcliffe, have a good laugh and ponder what might have been had it become the capital.

The Great Shove Off is on at 2.30pm and 7.30pm, Wednesday February 15, at the Redcliffe Cultural Centre, Downs Street, Redcliffe.