Comedy review: #JC4PM, Festival Theatre, Edinburgh

Mark Steel. Picture: Idil Sukan
Mark Steel. Picture: Idil Sukan
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AS if to bolster the impression that the 2010s are a re-run of the 1980s – with a socialist Labour leader in opposition mocked by the punitive Tory government (and others) – the #JC4PM tour aims to drum up support for Jeremy Corbyn and the issues he espouses using much the same style as the Red Wedge collective of musicians, including Billy Bragg and Paul Weller, who sought to mobilise younger voters and promote Labour Party causes in the mid-80s.

#JC4PM | Rating: *** | Festival Theatre, Edinburgh

Finding mainstream musicians prepared to stick their head above the parapet these days is no mean feat and so the textily-titled #JC4PM is headlined by Charlotte Church, who brought mighty, soaring vocals and left-of-centre electronica rather than rhetoric, with a support bill of speakers, poets and comedians, including veteran campaigners Jeremy Hardy, acting as MC for the evening, and Mark Steel, both of whom were happy to confront the prevailing political mood across the spectrum with some well aimed barbs.

There were no barbs from Barbara Nice, just gentle but disarming character comedy, nor Edinburgh transplant Jo Caulfield with her droll local observations. Such light relief was interspersed with thought-provoking performance poetry from Jim Monaghan, speeches from MSPs Neil Findlay and Elaine Smith, and trenchant words from Chris Nineham of the Stop the War Coalition but while the tone may inevitably have varied throughout proceedings, certain themes recurred – the demonisation of the poor and migrants, Trident and the unfortunate tendency for left-wing political groups to divide against themselves.

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