It was going to be made sooner or later. A musical about Boris Johnson. His political career has been built out of being a figure of fun, a clown bumbling through the London mayoralty, a person one might never quite take seriously. Boris the Musical covers the life of the blonde ape from when he started out at Eton to swinging his way through the political jungle of 2016 into the Foreign and Commonwealth Office.
The musical centred around Boris and two key figures in his life: David Cameron and Michael Gove. It charts his first meeting with Cameron at Eton and their time in the Bullingdon club together. His short career as a journalist, a quick flash over his time as mayor of London, and a sudden dash to focus on the referendum campaign and its repetitive after-shocks, peppered with juicy references to his sex life.
It played on themes that anyone who’s watched a satire show knows: that Boris has an incredibly posh background, a desire for the highest office in British politics, a bitter feud with David Cameron and a propensity to sleep around. Whilst all of this is, yes, funny, it doesn’t touch any new ground on Boris. It just makes him out to be a posh twat either shagging whoever moves or having a petty fist fight with his mate Dave.
Boris has built a career out of being the clown of British politics, so portraying him as one seems a little pointless. He’s become famous as the man who rugby tackled a 10 year old boy, got stuck on a zip wire and fell into a river. These are just a range of bumbling gaffes that have made us laugh throughout his career. Which makes us overlook other things, like how he ‘held back’ a report on how London schools in deprived areas were being affected by the toxic air.
Boris the Musical successfully demonstrates the frenzied, furied, spinning world that British politics has been over the past 12 months. With Michael Gove memorably dressed as a pastor of a gospel church, urging his congregation to believe in Brexit, the musical portrayed the madness of the Referendum campaign in a funny yet poignant way. It marked the beginning of what will be a range of art on the political cycle of 2016 with laughter yet hard questions as well, what has happened to this country and where can we go from here.
Boris the Musical, it’d be funnier without the man himself in it. A statement you might say about British political life more generally.