Brexit the Musical, dares the city of Edinburgh to gather on Chambers Street and sit without speaking for an hour whilst actors and singers ponder the questions of the nation’s most recent humiliation. Those who choose to attend will be rewarded with a light-hearted if not painfully simple rendition of 2016’s events with Michael Grove and Boris Johnson as the unfortunate protagonists.
Each politician is recast with only their most basic and absurd traits: Boris Johnson is slobby and unprepared, Michael Grove is grovelling and submissive and David and Samantha Cameron are just glad they no longer have to pretend to be normal.
Somewhat cathartic though at times grating, this musical thrives off of the absurdity of what happened, and some added bits capitalise on just that license. One of the most impressive numbers, for example, is Jeremy Corbyn’s heartfelt requiem that Brexit should stop him from attending Glastonbury.
Amid Corbyn’s dirge and Johnson’s union jack pants the only shame is that they didn’t take the satire further. To get an audience to blink at Edinburgh Festival Fringe, the Cameron family laughing over working class citizens who drink Prosecco instead of Champagne isn’t enough: David Cameron should be renouncing the peasants he ruled for presuming to touch him with the same hands that have performed “manual labour. Boris Johnson should step up his delay and distract technique from secretly supporting Andrea Leadsome’s campaign to secretly supporting the Trump campaign.
The fact that there was no one cast as the queen was a sure enough sign alone that Brexit: The Musical didn’t go far enough. An even more cathartic, funnier version of the play would have dug deeper into the humour, taken more risks and tapped into some properly irreverent material.
At times, the show bears a tedious similarity to American daytime sitcoms. Repetitive jokes drone throughout the show, squeezing out the start of some fascinating bits cutting into the snap election towards the end.
Brexit: The Musical
Until 28th August
Photo credit: Ian Vincent