Pros: A funny and entertaining show with good performances from all concerned.
Cons: The points being made were accentuated unnecessarily.
The Museum of Comedy is an interesting place full of old posters, props, books and photographs. It is worth getting there a bit early to get a drink from the bar and have a good look around. The cosy theatre space smells a bit damp which is to be expected as it is in the basement space of a church. It does not have raked seating, but the venue is so small this should not be an issue.
A domestic scene in post Brexit Stoke-on-Trent. Dorothy (Julia Faulkner) has mobility issues following a stroke, and is having difficulty finding a carer now that all the ‘foreigners’ have been deported. Her son Ralph (Richard de Lisle) has managed to find a good prospect, though. Heidi (Clare Aster), originally from somewhere in Europe, now has no family or roots anywhere but England. She wants to remain in the country but needs a place to stay (or should that be hide), having lost her nursing job. Dorothy reluctantly agrees to take her on in an illegal capacity. There follows a predictable tale of friendship growing between Heidi and Dorothy, love blossoming between Heidi and Ralph and Heidi’s eventual discovery by the authorities.
The play is a lot more enjoyable than the outline suggests, though as the whole piece is humorous with many laugh-out-loud lines. It pokes fun at Brexiteers, political leaders and their policies. Scotland is independent, with Hadrian’s Wall being rebuilt, and ‘they’ are going to pay for the work. Politicians, no longer in the limelight in the real world, have reappeared in unlikely roles. There are lots of little touches such as the telephone number to report illegal foreigners (it was 6661984); the concept of ‘Speedo dating’, which conjures all sorts of images in my head, and the fact that Heidi, the foreigner, was the character making puns and jokes in English. Be sure to listen to the soundtrack, which provides additional entertaining commentary.
Although amusing and entertaining, it does not really add anything profound to the whole Brexit issue, relying on generalisations and stereotypes. The comparisons with Nazi Germany and 16th century England are emphasised so many times in the dialogue I was reminded of the ‘Show not Tell’ instructions from far off school days. My review companion described it as Painting by Numbers. The terms ‘British’ and ‘English’ seem to be used interchangeably, and there is no mention of Wales or any of the Commonwealth countries at times when it would been appropriate to do so.
Despite the gaps, good performances from all concerned ensured an agreeable evening which was both funny and also a little bit depressing. Let’s hope it is not the shape of things to come.
Written and Directed by: Ian Dixon Potter
Producer: Golden Age Theatre Company
Box Office: 02075341744
Booking Link: https://museumofcomedy.ticketsolve.com/shows/873592018
Booking Until: 18 November 2018