Review: Blowfish Theatre’s Boris the Musical 2: Brexit Harder at the Carriageworks, Leeds

FROM group masturbation at Eton to “Downton Abbey meets Fight Club” at the Oxford Bullingdon Dining Club and his stint as a newspaper correspondent in Brussels, reportedly making up negative EU stories, Boris Johnson’s (James Ringer Beck) pre-political career paints a pretty damning picture of “the laughing buffoon”. Peppered with jibes at Boris’ privileged life, “Yah”s are interspersed with elitist mantras like “If you’re rich, you can be a tool” and gleeful cries of “Ever wondered why you’re poor? We’re your feudal over lords.”

According to Blowfish, Boris entering politics was predestined as the House of Lords is introduced as the “place where Eton students retire”, making his move to Mayor of London and position as Uxbridge and South Ruislip MP a natural progression, especially after losing his writing gig for reputedly conspiring to assault a colleague.

Events of the 2015 General Election are depicted through a Ruislip school performance, “Everyone Vote Leave” is a catchy heavy metal song while the “Remain” campaign is presented as a dark children’s bedtime story. Boris is depicted as Michael Gove’s (Polly Bycroft Brown) charming puppet as they duet a love ballad together, viewing themselves as a “modern Churchill” and “modern Chamberlain”.

True to its namesake much of the show’s venom of course targets Boris but Blowfish are not afraid to ridicule his counterparts too. Director Kyle Williams in drag perfects Theresa May’s stance in a hilarious stage entrance before a dominatrix Jacob Reece Mogg (Natasha Lanceley) has her cowering on the floor as he demands “How do you want it? Harder?” Grime master Jeremy Corbyn (Laurence Peacock) tempts the voters with “Free Stuff” while “Is this a castle? No, it’s our school” takes a pop at those privately educated in the style of a 90s’ pop group.

Laurence Peacock’s hyperbolic script is rife with expletives, heavy on the digs and includes pleasing topical additions. The Blowfish ensemble could benefit from microphones at times but give performances especially strong in physicality with brilliant mannerisms and facial expressions.

The set is simple, merely comprised of a black stage curtain with a smaller curtain in front. The cast are uniformly suited and props are minimal with a walking stick and shawl, portraying the elderly lady Boris apparently “saved” from assault. There’s one musician (Dom Lo) who visibly plays guitar and keyboard as the cast sing, crudely announcing location changes in deliberately clunky lyrics for comic effect.

A journey back to Boris’ youth moving forward to more recent campaigning, this political satire may be low in budget but boasts big laughs and boldly presents Britain’s current PM candidates in an extremely negative light.

Boris the Musical 2: Brexit Harder showed at The Carriageworks on June 30th before continuing its UK tour:

Leo Owen