Wednesday, 19 July 2017

REVIEW: Brexodus the Musical at The Other Palace

Only a year ago one of the most dividing referendums shook Britain and is now well underwear after the triggering of article 50; this is the source Material for this week’s resident show, in the studio space at The Other Palace. 

Written by David Sherriff and Frederick Appleby, Brexodus gives us a sort of fly on the wall aspect to the last year and a bit in British politics starting with David Cameron negotiating Britain’s deal in the EU and ending after article 50. The writers have so much to be able to write about the I feel as if they have missed several tricks. To start the script could be funnier. We’ve seen politics more and more in the news to the point where politicians are becoming caricatures of themselves and so this script had to be bigger to be true satire, instead of using a pastiche of Shakespeare in the script he should have continued to develop the pacing of the humour and the portrayal of the ‘characters’ instead they are written almost too true to life and creates a harder job for the actors. 

The stage is commanded by a talented ensemble who bring unique and safe takes on MPs, MEPs, Leaders of countries and personal aids, unfortunately each one, although playing multiple roles has one or two strong deliveries. The strongest actor in the group is Scott Jones, fresh from News Review at the Canal Theatre, Scott brings a unique and defined, larger than life rendition of each character he portrays. From his snivelling Gove to his Lord of Darkness Mendelsohn, he in an absolute joy to watch on stage. 

Airlie Scott’s Theresa May was fun yet very close to the bone however I feel as if it could have been taken further to incorporate her ever shifting hair and her progressively evolving robotic mannerisms a performance on par with James Sanderson’s Boris and Donald Trump, equally as funny, it just wasn’t pushed to as far to the risqué side of things as it could have been. They really left me wanting more. I feel as if they were hindered but the writing and all on stage could have taken characters a bit further in the more caricature route opposed to playing them as true to the real person as they did. Paul Croft’s Corbyn was airy, soft spoken and in the clouds. 

Appleby’s music is the weakest part of the piece, which is a real shame being a 
musical. Interludes between scenes increased the pace of the production and whilst there are some catchy songs nothing sticks with you after you leave the theatre. 

With a script in need of an injection of snappier humour and a score with only a few glimmering gems this piece needs some more work but it isn’t all bad and I didn’t dislike it. Performances are tighter than you would expect for a fringe piece. Yet I do feel as if the piece is trying too hard not to offend anyone and has fallen into a trap of pleasing everyone, the only thing I truly get from the piece is that the writers didn’t like Corbyn. A few laugh out moments but I think that is more due to Actor’s choice than writers.

Review by James-Lee Campbell 

Rating: ★★★
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