August 12-13, 15-25 (20:00)
For several months now, the future Mrs Law and I have been discussing our media-barrage induced apathy over current political affairs. Her tactic has been to hide in a ‘News Nuclear Bunker’, avoiding as much as possible the daily onslaught of wearyingly unsurprising gaffes, ‘offensive quotes’, and doom laden headlines. Generally a political animal myself, I have taken to rationing my intake of anything ‘B word’ related.
So it was with not without trepidation that I decided to dive head first into Lolly Jones’ political cabaret spectacular, feeling optimistically rejuvenated after several days of non-Fringe related R&R. As a positive portent, upon first reading the promo material for the show I noticed a tingling of excitement deep in my belly at the prospect of seeing Nicola Sturgeon and Angela Merkel burlesquing on stage together. Could this be the Epsom Salts tonic I needed to cure me of my malady? Well actually, if we’re talking ‘tonics’ then Buckfast would be a far more suitable analogy for this mini masterpiece than Epsom, but more of that later.
Crash! Angela Merkel is a Bond style Techno Villain! Bang! Nicola Sturgeon is a dusky 60’s club singer, wooing the audience with her cheeky one liners!! Wallop! Theresa May is, well, VERY Theresa May.
The old equation tells us that ‘Tragedy multiplied by Time equals Comedy’, and Lolly Jones uses this to deliver a show that I felt gluttonous to consume. The audience is treated to a 1930’s Berlin style Revue of the last 4 years in politics with exquisitely cheeky choreography, costume changes galore, spectacular lighting effects, and lip synching to recordings of our ‘glorious leaders’ during the moments which have shaped the Britain we live in now. To add a massive cherry to the top of this already heavily laden cake of visual delights, it is soundtracked to perfection. En Vougue’s classic ‘Never Gonna Get It’ is deployed like satirical semtex at just the right moment, and applause, laughter and cheers cascade around the room when it is dropped.
Then, there are the performances. Jones herself is one of the most talented impersonators I have ever witnessed live. Her facial contortions to uncannily recreate the mannerisms of the main political players is a joy to watch. The beat perfect lip-synching to the politicians’ interviews, and speeches, is faultless, allowing the audience to escape from the sucking vortex that has been the political landscape of the last 4 years, and instead spend time with the people at the heart of it. One wonders if Theresa May, were she to be present in the audience herself, would finally discover the self-awareness which was so sorely lacking during her ill-fated premiership.
Lolly is ably supported throughout by 2 backing dancers who are in effect the Chorus of this Greek Tragedy, taking on ‘minor roles’ such as Donald Trump and Mrs Mays other half with aplomb equal to our main star. It would be massively remiss of me not to mention the most important character in the show though, Babs Jones. Lolly opens the performance by lip synching to a recording of her mum discussing her thoughts on Brexit, and we are treated to excerpts of this throughout. It is cut and timed perfectly, to convey the shifting public moods over these last years. The disillusionment, confusion, and despair that has come to characterise us as a nation. It is this interjection of the ‘reality’ of the events in people’s lives which prevents the whole piece sliding off into polemic. Instead Lolly allows us simply to observe history unfolding in front of us, laying bare the catastrophic folly, hubris, and pride present in the current British political system.
I could go on for pages, such is the sheer precision and attention to detail present in every aspect of this unique, instant Fringe classic, which had the audience on their feet for a standing ovation at the end. Instead, we’ll get back to that Buckfast analogy. ‘I Believe in Merkels’ was indeed the (Buckfast) tonic that both myself, and the usually satire-phobic Future Mrs Law needed. Just like Scotland’s other national drink, it renders you temporarily incapable of conscious thought, delirious, and high as a kite. The only thing you do know is that you’ve forgotten all your troubles, you feel f@@king brilliant, and you really, really, want some more.
No matter whether you’re a Leftie, a Tory, or an Inbetweenie, you owe it to yourself to see this show. It’s the political panacea that everyone in the UK should be prescribed.