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Trump the Musical, King’s Head Theatre – review

It’s the impossibly distant year 2020, and the world is on the brink of nuclear war. King Nigel Farage rules the Disunited Kingdom of England and Northern Ireland, and Trump’s popularity is higher than ever: “He gave us our jobs back,” exclaims one satisfied voter, “I’m now a full-time Muslim hunter.” Trump The Musical plays, as the central character tells us, to “the biggest musical theatre crowd there has ever been”. A riotous evening of song and dance, satire and absurdity, the show takes world leaders as its main characters and exaggerates them out of all proportion. Trump’s opponents…

Summary

Rating

Excellent

A hugely entertaining farce about the absurdity of contemporary world politics

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It’s the impossibly distant year 2020, and the world is on the brink of nuclear war. King Nigel Farage rules the Disunited Kingdom of England and Northern Ireland, and Trump’s popularity is higher than ever: “He gave us our jobs back,” exclaims one satisfied voter, “I’m now a full-time Muslim hunter.”

Trump The Musical plays, as the central character tells us, to “the biggest musical theatre crowd there has ever been”. A riotous evening of song and dance, satire and absurdity, the show takes world leaders as its main characters and exaggerates them out of all proportion. Trump’s opponents for the presidency are O J Simpson and Kanye West; Farage loses Wales to the Isle of Man in a poker game and has sold the British Army to Saudi Arabia.

Donald Trump is played with exuberant madness by Polly Bycroft-Brown, after a last-minute cast change – although it’s not clear if this is permanent or just for the press night. I hope it’s a permanent change, as she brings an entertaining energy and absurdity to the role. She’s joined by her 823rd Press Secretary, the loyal but self-doubting Rod (Louisa May).

On the other side of the political spectrum the excellent Natasha Lanceley plays both a strutting, Trump-obsessed Vladimir Putin and a petulant, vicious Kim Jong Un, played more as excitable gameshow host than statesman. The casting of women in three lead male roles is inspired: it brings an otherworldliness to the proceedings that male actors would struggle to attain. The fact that bearded, rubber-faced Kyle Williams looks nothing like Nigel Farage is no impediment; we accept the characters as they are portrayed.

The cast is rounded out by Laurence Peacock as Farage’s assistant, who secretly works for the undercover operation known only as Emily – and I won’t spoil the excellent gag by telling you what ‘Emily’ stands for. Gags are everywhere: “You have a lot of nerve, agent Sergei,” Putin tells his dissenting minion, “but I have a lot of nerve agent, Sergei.” The humour carries through into the songs, the music provided by the talented Dominic Lo, who sits onstage behind a tiny Casio keyboard alternately stabbing his drum machine and singing backing vocals (and he also makes a fine sidekick to both Putin and Kim).

This is a hilarious, fast-paced farce that boils world politics, wrings them out and hangs them up to dry. Don’t expect subtlety, realism or insight; instead, it’s 75 minutes of pure late night entertainment.

Author: Laurence Peacock
Director: Kyle Williams and Laurence Peacock
Music: Dominic Lo
Producer: Blowfish Theatre
Box Office: 0207 226 8561
Booking Link: https://system.spektrix.com/kingsheadtheatre/website/eventdetails.aspx?WebEventId=trump
Booking until: 8 June 2019, then touring

About Steve Caplin

Steve Caplin
Steve is a freelance artist and writer, specialising in Photoshop, who builds unlikely furniture in his spare time. He plays the piano reasonably well, the accordion moderately and the guitar badly. Steve does, of course, love the theatre. The worst play he ever saw starred Charlton Heston and his wife, who have both always wanted to play the London stage. Neither had any experience of learning lines. This was almost as scarring an experience as seeing Ron Moody performing a musical Sherlock Holmes. Steve has no acting ambitions whatsoever.