Theatre review: Macblair
Edinburgh Festival Fringe: Everyone loves Tony Blair '“ or at least they love plays about him, if this packed house is anything to go by.
C venues – C primo (Venue 41)
It’s a brilliant concept: the story of Blair’s rise and fall told via the story of Macbeth, and writer-performer Charlie Dupré is perfect to play him: all strained smile, panicked eyes and, of course, that voice.
While the Macbeth/ Blair parallels can only be stretched so far, it turns out that this is actually quite far – with any deviations effectively covered up by Dupré’s witty, satirical script, which is part poetic verse, part comic scenes, and, during PMQs, a beat boxing rap battle.
We meet Macblair on the start of his journey to become ‘King of the World’ and fulfil the prophecy of a bunch of soothsaying journalists he met in a stairwell. Macbrown fumes in the background; a Faustian pact with George Brush leads to the Iraq war (“if it were to be done, rather it be done quickly…”); and an increasingly egomaniac Macblair eventually proclaims, “Is this an audience I see before me?”
Double, double, toil and trouble: the journalists’ printing presses churn, the headlines pinned to the wall change, and we get a pocket-sized version of the Blair years delivered by a talented, energetic ensemble who’d be equally at home in the Reduced Shakespeare Company. Cherie Blair as Lady Macbeth might be a bit of a stretch, but the prospect of a future Corbyn government fits extremely well.
Through the heady days of 1997, right up until Brexit, this is essentially a protest play, disguised as a comedy, disguised as something to do with Shakespeare. Do we really need another Blair show? As long as there’s a need to read the Chilcot report in a bus and Tony Blair is making millions (here, dressed in a middle-eastern-style costume made of gold), the answer is: yes.
Until 28 August. Tomorrow 6:15pm.