Rory Bremner Live On Stage- with John Bird and John Fortune
Mimicry is endlessly entertaining and few in the field can surpass Rory Bremner whose particular brand of political satire usually brims with perspicacity and irreverent wit. Now, accompanied by the two Johns (Bird and Fortune) he's brought his winning formula to the stage for a limited run and though it's not an unalloyed comic paradise there's plenty to relish. As the show opens 'Tony Blair' (a bewigged Bremner) admonishes the audience for their mindless culpability and pleasure in parody; it's a great intro and sets the tone (excuse the pun!) for the rest of the evening which becomes a sort of vocal greatest hits package.
Some moments are inevitably more memorable than others but overall Bremner & Co score a comic bullseye, the former's ingenious dexterity beautifully complemented by Messrs Bird and Fortune's assumed gravitas. Their sketch exposing the British Army's apparently woeful preparations for war in Iraq is a gem and though Bird's brief stint as Robert Mugabe is less seamless, Fortune's perverse tale of dubious bliss aboard a British train scores highly on irony as the country rattles towards a third world service.
A surreal second Act sketch sees Bremner displaying his vocal virtuosity as he moves from his usual political territory into the world of showbusiness and back again with real aplomb. In perhaps the show's funniest scene, 'Blair' is seen preaching from the lectern, ostensibly demonstrating that England is no American pawn whilst the text of a speech unfolding endorses just the opposite message; its American references swiftly translated by the premier into some hilarious British gaffes. The recent Major-Currie scandal merits only a few pointed references to Major's new novelty value but the odd caveat aside, it's a real pleasure to see the master of mimicry live and on strong form.
Notices from the popular press....
BRIAN LOGAN for THE GUARDIAN says, "Like the whole evening, the speech is always droll and sometimes very funny.....The show's intelligence is refreshing." DOMINIC CAVENDISH for THE DAILY TELEGRAPH says, "Bremner can still do the voices brilliantly; he just needs to find something truly compelling to say with them." JONATHAN MYERSON for THE INDEPENDENT says, "Bremner can still make us listen but he's beached without a decent target." BRUCE DESSAU for THE EVENING STANDARD says, "His new West End show mixes and matches verbal tics to spellbinding effect."
External links to full reviews from newspapers