Whilst fictitious, Boris the Musical 2: Brexit Harder! probably offers the most realistic insight into the mind and world of Boris Johnson that no journalist or biographer could ever produce. Blowfish Theatre’s comedy musical gives their take on how ‘BoJo’ came to be and creates a modern-day satire that even Oscar Wilde would be proud of!
Opening with Boris’s monologue, the audience are immediately thrown into the mind of one of the most controversial politicians of the 21st century. Whilst James Ringer-Beck does not physically resemble Boris, the mannerisms and expressions he pulls completely capture his infamous whacky essence. The cast is so dedicated to breaking down the fourth wall, involving the audience and caricaturing our politicians that they don’t need to hold a physical resemblance. This is one of the musical’s strengths because it allows it to go in any direction it wants – whether it be a woman (Natasha Lanceley) playing David Cameron, a man (Kyle Williams) playing Theresa May or Jeremy Corbyn (Laurence Peacock) becoming a grime artist. Blowfish Theatre embrace the farce to produce a piece of comedy that hasn’t been captured since The Thick of It.
The songs performed in the musical – from a vogue interpretation of ‘Eton, Oxford, Parliament’ to ‘All You Need is Leave’ carry the plot forward. Whilst they don’t provide any substance in terms of the overarching narrative or storyline, they do provide an opportunity to move time along and reposition the story. Although the singing isn’t the show’s strongest feature, it still works due to it satirical nature. This means that when Peacock occasionally misses a note, it feels more like it was Corbyn himself missing it which adds to the humour.
The staging is sparse but this provides Blowfish with a blank canvas to direct all attention on the cast and take the musical in any direction. Whilst at times it appears messy, this reflects the chaos we currently see playing out on our TVs. What works well are the fictitious scenes, teasing the audience with their interpretation of what goes on behind the scenes. Whilst probably unrealistic, I think everyone in the audience loves the idea of David ‘SAS’ Davis karate kicking his way into every room, Michael Gove suddenly appearing whenever his name is mentioned, or Jacob Rees-Mogg and the European Research Group slut dropping in hot pants demanding a “haaaaard” Brexit… well maybe not the last one.
Anyone seeing only the title might be forgiven for thinking that it is only Boris Johnson who is ripped to pieces – but they’d be wrong. Like all good political comedies, Boris the Musical 2 leaves no modern politician unscathed. At a time when our faith in politicians is low, this satire is exactly what audiences need and satirising all of them makes it a show for the many, not the few!
However, one question which is yet to be answered is who behaved more farcical – the politicians in the show or the politicians in Westminster.
Featured Image Credit: Heather Imogen.