Fringe Review – Brexit the Musical (rating: 4/5)
A world premiere is always exciting and the hype surrounding this one ensured that the Venue C1 on Chambers Street was sold out.
In the current era of electioneering, fake elections, fake news, referenda, we all need cheering up.
Brexit the Musical is an exuberant and scathing piece which offers political satire that rings true.
A five-piece orchestra is visible above the stage – a Brechtian touch which reminds us that this is indeed musical theatre. No fiction fantasy here. Yes, indeed we are living in these times.
James Witt has bumbling Boris down to a tee and steals every scene. His constant outbursts about the Cheeky Girls possibly being deported are comedy gold as is his pairing with Govey played by James Dangerfield. Sporting bicycle and helmet and fetching Union Jack boxers he admits in song that he has staged a power play.
The writing by EU lawyer Chris Bryant is spot on. Once May, Virge Gilchrist, previously a player in Hamlet the Musical comes on the scene – they are all trying to find the plan. Gilchrist can belt out a tune too and that’s while wearing the restrictive leather trousers and the obligatory kitten heels.
The cast also includes Andy Watkins as Jeremy Corbyn, Natasha Millar as a garish Andrea Leadsom, performing Mother Knows Best, and Michaela Bennison who doubles as a Sunday Times Reporter and a Corbyn researcher.
Govey constantly has doors slamming in his face as he and Boris set out to find “the plan” that George Osborne has hidden, possibly in the vaults of the Bank of England.
One of my favourite pieces featured Corbyn wanting to go to Glastonbury and “smoke a funny fag with Billy Bragg.”
The lyricism of the production is on the ball, but maybe the melodies could be a little better.
Paul Rich as David Cameron is a scary look-alike. Strangely, Sam Cam, is cast as a redhead and advises him in song to think of all the non-executive directorship fees. Later they share a duet on not having to pretend they are normal people.
The comedy wins out in this production more than the songs. Saying that – the talent is there, but this is a musical which will have a limited shelf life. It’s fun and it’s funny. The performers are on cue, but it’s not a classic.
Nightly at Venue C1