NOT A REVIEW BUT SOME JOLLY NEWS
Not a review, because this was the first performance of a modest weekend testing the water: a script-in-hand, moustaches-falling-off, fresh-outta-workshop low key tryout. But some of us, especially at a time when TB keeps trying to sidle back into the limelight , pounced like starving cheetahs on this much-awaited blast of furious merriment at “Britain’s first pop PM”.
I had heard a year ago about Harry Hill and Steve Brown having another go (after I Can’t Sing met mixed reviews and pleased its hero Simon Cowell just that bit too much). No danger of that problem this time.
Oh no. I can reasonably reveal that it will hurt, not only TB himself but specially him. There’s real contempt for spin, vanity, the Iraq invasion and even the grinning PM’s treatment of poor Gordon Brown with his basso-profundo and tartan underpants. There are sparkles of rage amid the glorious Hill jokes and barbed, carefully finessed and divinely silly rhymes. Hill himself, alongside Brown, popped up before the start (to cries of “Fiiight!”, obviously).
The cast of nine under Peter Rowe’s direction morph between characters and atrocious wigs: Brown’s music is alternately pleasingly reminiscent of music-hall, G&S, Handel, Tom Lehrer and at one point Oasis. The PR says the show “plays fast and loose with the facts, owing as much to Citizen Kane as it does to The Marx Brothers”, though the latter had less trouble keeping their moustaches on.
Diana appears twice, Mandelson repeatedly, Campbell once, and Saddam gets a song WS Gilbert would love. To a shower of placards naming villains from Stalin to Kim Jong Il, a small but packed house sang lustily along with the finale “The whole wide world is run by assholes”. And, I think, accepted its responsibility, here in the heart of NewLab north London.
But it’s not a review. Script in hand despite some vigorous strutting and larking, it was as theatre makers say jus a “sharing” . All I will say is that hell, Harry, I do very much look forward to the real. premiere, wherever it is….