Idiots Assemble: Spitting Image The Musical ★★★★★ Phoenix Theatre | May 24 - Aug 26, 2023

Just when you think British politics can't be satirised, along comes Spitting Image with a show that lets you know just how bad things really are! This hilarious production spares no one, as it exposes the folly of politics and celebrity culture. The pacing is extraordinary and it speeds along from jibe to jibe at a furious pace. The plot is basic but amusing. King Charles enlists a gang of seven, including Tom Cruise, RuPaul, Greta Thunberg and Angela Rayner, to restore the fabric of society and to thwart the evil machinations of Boris Johnson, Donald Trump, Suella Braverman and their minions. Along the way, we are treated to some sharp song parodies and some acid etched portrayals of the not-so-good and not-very-great. The portrait of Braverman is particularly pointed. Michael Jackson's "Thriller" becomes "Suella" and the famous zombie music video is spliced with "The Exorcist" to create one of the show's funniest scenes. The great "Puttin' On the Ritz" becomes "Putin On the Blitz" and it definitely tapped its way onto our list of favourites. From Jacob Rees-Mogg as a praying mantis to a chorus of singing penises, the show is brash, bawdy and sometimes brutal. It takes no prisoners and is brilliantly topical, with new material being added regularly. When we attended, Nicola Sturgeon's current crisis was the butt of lots of the jokes. The real stars here are the puppeteers who disappear into Roger Law's outlandish creations and also take on some serious choreography. Director and writer, Sean Foley with co-writers, Al Murray and Matt Forde, has created an experience as surreal as the daily news reports. In the show's introduction we are told that it "identifies as funny" and "respects nothing at all." It exuberantly succeeds on both counts.

Rated: ★★★★★

Reviewed by J.C.
Photo by Mark Senior

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