Thatcher-Rite

Jack Boal
Streatham Space Project

Jack Boal as Thatcher Credit: James Klug
Jack Boal as Thatcher Credit: James Klug
Jack Boal as Thatcher Credit: James Klug

Jack Boal’s show opens with a tea party of cucumber sandwiches and cake where four named audience members are invited to a table on stage. Thatcher (Jack) sits at the central seat dressed in a huge wig and a shoulder-padded blue costume that might remind you of the Marvel comic villain Thanos, the warlord of Titan who wanted to wipe out half the population of the universe.

Initially, there’s smalltalk about the jobs his guests do (on this occasion, two are from policy groups and one works with an environmental organisation) while Jack as the Thatch pours everyone tea and hands out the food. Barely any of this sequence seems to have a focus or be particularly political.

At various points, Jack will lip-sync to short extracts of Thatcher speaking.

Later in this sixty-minute performance, anyone in the audience can respond to questions projected onto a back screen and prompted by clips from a BBC Question Time following Thatcher’s demise. There were some interesting responses.

“Where would we be if Thatcher hadn't come to power.”

“We would be more like France is now” replied an audience member.

“Who should lead us now?”

“Starmer” someone on the front row suggested.

Asked what Thatcher did that was unfair, Zoe on row three argued that "she increased inequality". The point got Zoe invited to the front and, after being told to throw a pie in Thatcher’s (Jack’s) face, she is given the central seat, presumably to rule over us.

Finally, after a clip of Thatcher shedding a few tears after she resigned, Jack finishes the performance with a rendition of “Ding Dong! The Witch is Dead”.

It's all very amiable and Jack’s sympathies are clearly with those who criticise the former Tory leader. However, being too dependent on the contributions of an audience not used to being at a show where they were suddenly to act as if at a political event, Thatcher-Rite felt very light on content and politics.

Reviewer: Keith Mckenna

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