Blair on Broadway

Iain Hollingshead, music by Timothy Muller
Third Way Productions
Arts Theatre
(2008)

Blair on Broadway

While the characterisation and choreography were excellent, I found this production disappointing.

To give it its due, this play has done very well; elevated from a humble start at the tiny Hen and Chickens Theatre pub in Islington to a West End run. You can tell by the programmes (e.g. comments about who's got together with who) that they're a very close bunch of friends who have poured huge amounts of time and passion into this; they are, and deserve to be, proud.

As the audience hurls through the last decade's major events, decisions and characters, there are some hilarious moments; Gordon Brown (Chris Cambridge) was quite brilliant as was the Jeremy Paxman (Peter McMillan) who spends every song, spitting obscenities at a cowering Blair.

However it might be the plush West End-style venue that's to blame for drawing attention to how amateur the dancing, singing and scripting actually are.

Perhaps I'm overly grumpy because I reported current affairs throughout the Blair reign and felt they'd wasted an opportunity to be really clever. Perhaps it's because I was blown away by the brilliance of that political play Frost/Nixon, that this all seemed a bit limp.

In fact, that I didn't find it brilliant is unlikely to upset the two writers who put in the programme, "we think the finished product as more affectionate satirical romp than scathing critique."

I actually hate to criticise; it takes great courage, commitment and passion to stage any production. I just hope the cast find the American producer they're obviously hoping will take this to Broadway itself.

Reviewer: Zia Trench

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