Theatre Review: Alex Salmond... Unleashed (Trump Special)

Des Clarke is a highlight as Alex Salmond goes even more unleashed in an evening show.

Picture: Lesley Martin/PA Wire

Emboldened by his daytime Fringe success, Big Eck has gone 18+ and is now taking on Wee Handed Donald using the power of comedy, hoping that that which cannot be brought down by force can be mortally damaged by ridicule.

Those of us who remember Spitting Image know David Steel never forgave them for his tiny puppet.

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Salmond is a believer in the power of the idea, and his idea to get Des Clarke onstage with him, as Donald Trump turns out to be an absolute stoater.

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Theatre review: Alex Salmond... Unleashed

The show has the usual opening, although it seems to me that Salmond is now rocking the provocative tearing of the tie from his neck in a properly showbiz way.

He takes us through his personal tramp through Trump : from golf courses to wind turbines. Trump sued the Scottish Government three times and failed till there was no higher court to petition while Salmond was prohibited from saying anything publicly.

After the last action failed, he went on CNN News, he tells us, and sang “Once Twice Three Times a Loser”. “I know it was a bit petty”, he shrugs, “But I’d been waiting two years !”

He has two guests and his regular First Lady of Laughs, Janey Godley - who has her own history with The Donald, a story we get from her in her own spot.

The star of the hour is undoubtedly Des Clarke, channelling POTUS for the purposes of the show. He is blindingly funny. Unstoppably brilliant.

John Bishop - a phenomenal comic off the cuff - barely says a word.

If the Walking Wotsit can be brought down by jokes, I will bet he is A&E right now.

To be fair, Salmond himself takes a bit of a comedy beating from Des-Donald, who seems amazed at what he is getting away with up there. He likens Salmond to Susan Boyle, and reveals plans to be eating willies in the jungle with Alex on I’m A Celebrity.

In a fringe up to its laughing gear in Trump jokes, this night is orange head and shoulders above the rest.

Elsewhere in his run, Salmond has shown himself to be an engaging interviewer and now, he turns out to be a terrific straight man. And make no mistake, Big Eck has a mind that could cut you in half with a comeback if he wanted to.

But he allows the comics to make the comedy. Clarke is on fire and Salmond just fans the flames every so often.

“Mad Alex, the man who destroyed Scotland for hundreds of years” (Trump’s description of him) has really got this entertainment thing nailed.

Best of all, he has the ability to turn the show around at the end to deliver a heartfelt coda to the laughter.

He returns to the power of the idea, to the notion that sometimes, something terrible has to happen to make the good people stand up again. He reminds us that, we, the Scots, gave America its Constitution.

The idea of direct democracy and popular sovereignty. There is a wry joke about the shock of electoral reversals, and a despairing cry that they could have made “such an arse” of things in the US.

I know Salmond is a politician, and an experienced orator, but now he is unleashed ... who knows. If Nicola has half of what he has, in a few years, the Krankies had better watch out for their panto bookings.