Trump Lear

David Carl
Project Y Theatre Company / Richard Jordan Productions in association with The Pleasance
Pleasance Courtyard
to

President Donald Trump is not a man you want as your enemy and David Carl, a humble actor and impressionist, is finding this out the hard way.

After successfully touring his Donald Trump's One Man King Lear show, he's found himself disappeared by the CIA to a secret bunker, being forced to perform his act for the President himself, and to be executed if it fails to entertain.

Anyone who was lucky enough to have seen Carl's previous Fringe hit, Gary Busey's One-Man Hamlet, will know the level of commitment and talent he has. In this play, by broadening the concept to a more meta level, he's opened up possibilities that allow him to play to a wider range, as well as acting as his own straight man for some of the gags. He plays dual roles, as physically onstage he is himself, playing up a parody of Trump when not pleading for his life, or slipping in snide comments to his captor; but he is also playing off a cuttingly accurate impression of Donald Trump, which is increasingly hard to remember isn't really the man himself.

It's a manic and often hysterically funny performance, with Carl flinging himself about the stage with abandon as he is forced to justify his comedy while leaping through the bizarre whims and challenges set him by the increasingly baffling and inscruitable Commander in Chief. There's a great amount of fun in his rendering of Lear, through the use of puppets with the faces of US presidents and politicians, each performed with a commendable impersonation, showing the breadth of Carl's talent, as well as his clearly accomplished command of Shakespeare.

If there's a downside to the experience, it's that the beginning does feel like it drags its feet a little, with the opening minutes going round in conversational circles. It's both a credit and flaw that in doing such a good job of mimicking Donald Trump's personality, the believable amount of arguing and interruptions that go on throughout the show frustrate the audience a little, although not nearly as much as Carl himself.

That said, it's only a small quibble and one that isn't enough to spoil the fun of such a clear and apt roasting of a public figure who deserves every word.

Graeme Strachan