Friday, 3 February 2017

REVIEW: Brexit | The Musical - Waterloo East Theatre

Brexit itself, and all of the kerfuffle that surrounded it, especially in the first weeks after the Referendum, lends itself to satire, so it is inevitable that one of the ways in which theatre has responded to this crisis is with comedy.

Waterloo East Theatre
The small cast of Brexit The Musical rattled through the main points of the campaign, beginning in 2014 with the Tory victory in the Scottish Referendum and ending, somewhat abruptly, with an invasion by a Supreme Court judge.

This being satire, the characters became caricatures, yet were well drawn, and multiple roles (often within the same scene) were tackled well. I did find it interesting that, despite being clearly on the side of Remain, both sides were treated with equal respect. Or, rather, equal disrespect. I particularly enjoyed the sudden foray into Macbeth, depicting Theresa May, Andrea Leadsom and Nicola Sturgeon as the Witches to Boris Johnson and Michael Gove. The two Civil Servants were also stand-out characters for me, full of lighting fast rhyming jargon, doublespeak and deadpan delivery.

Image Source: express.co.uk

While several of the songs were extremely witty, the Madrigal in particular, I felt that they were actually the weakest points of the musical: Farage's solo in particular, I thought, could have benefited from a little more speed. Although maybe that's just because I don't want to give Farage any air-time whatsoever, even in cartoon-character form.  

Saying that, I do think that overall the entire production felt a bit rushed. Admittedly this could be mainly to do with the fact that so much happened in a very short space of time, but I think the show could have done with being a little longer in its entirety, and spoofed a few more of the main events that occurred during a fraught campaign.

Image Source: brexitthemusical.eu

Shirreff, Sarre and Appleby have written a clever piece of reactionary theatre: I understand that the rushed feel of the performance could have been, in part, due to the urgency necessitated in keeping the production relevant, and the cast did cope very well with the speed of the show. Director Lucy Appleby did a good job keeping the disparate segments flowing well, with simple props to depict change of scenes, which worked well in the black-box minimalism of Waterloo East.

I look forward to the next crisis which spawns a production from this team.


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