Tony Blair has scarcely shut the door behind him on the way out of 10 Downing Street and already we are bombarded with two festival productions which tell the tale of the Blair years using that time-honoured medium of political comedy – the musical.
Joined by an ensemble of the great and the good of the New Labour aristocracy, Tony Blair - the Musical croons its way through 10 years of Blair's premiership, taking its farcical song titles straight from the man himself, including the glorious spin-mocking opening number, “Not a Day for Soundbites.” From Gordon Brown's faintly homoerotic relationship with Blair to the oft-mentioned but never-seen Alistair Campbell, Tony Blair bowls along taking potshots left, right and centre. It even features, as any political comedy worth its salt should, a cameo from Peter Snow's election swingometer.
The show's jokes, however, remain strongest on the most predictable areas – Blunkett, Iraq and George Bush. Cracking blind jokes and suggesting Bush is a little bit of a cowboy isn't cutting edge satire, but it's hilariously funny nonetheless, and when set to the toe-tapping music of James Lark it makes for a highly entertaining journey through a period of British politics ripe for this sort of treatment.