Brexit the Musical

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Brexit the Musical
Published 03 Aug 2017

Boris Johnson is no stranger to political satire. In fact, many believe his initial appearance on topical panel show Have I Got News for You was instrumental in getting him elected Mayor of London back in 2008. If this opinion is to overstate that show's reach, there's certainly no denying the part it played in establishing the man's media persona: that of a loveable, oafish bumbler.

While Brexit the Musical is critical of recent Conservative politics, and comes off as an altogether less opportunistic addition to the Fringe programme than one might reasonably expect, its overall bite is undermined by a reliance on cuddly caricature. The Johnson serving as protagonist of this musical merely reflects a public image its subject has been careful to manage and maintain. As such, the entire production gives an impression of state-sanctioned satire.

Strong and Stable Productions seem torn between conveying a message of righteous anger and delivering a silly feel-good musical. Ultimately, it shoots for the latter and is a resounding success with tonight's audience. The cast impress with their versatility and slick choreography, while the original songs featured are hook-laden and often very funny.

Lacking difficulty and confrontational edge, however, this work is content to preach to the converted. It ultimately comes off as a glossy distraction from serious events, despite having the tools to meaningfully engage with them. A shame as the ample stage-time devoted to Andrea Leadsom is a good indicator of how thorough a work this is otherwise.