The Last Temptation of Boris Johnson
PUBLISHED: 14:49 14 May 2019
Jonathan Maitland’s hilarious satire at Park Theatre imagines a future when the mop haired MP has been knighted and is still grasping at high office
With two Time Lords in the audience (Messrs Tennant and Capaldi) it was no surprise that Jonathan Maitland's political comedy time-travelled in a bid to unwrap the enigma that is Boris.
It zoomed back to a UK pre 23 June 2016, when the referendum offered the mop-haired MP a stage for his relentless leadership machinations; then forward to 2029 where Sir Boris has another crack at the leadership - and the chance to try and get us back into Europe.
Maitland tries to explain why Remainer Boris, over a lamb supper in Islington with (Douglas Bruce-Lochart's brilliantly slimy) Gove and others, decided to back Leave.
He is visited and advised by three phantom PMs - Churchill, (Steve Nallon's spookily authentic) Thatcher and Blair.
Hypocritically he positions himself as a modern Churchill: a voice in the wilderness, believing that Remain would win and that Brexit would never go away, he could re-emerge as the saviour of the country: "What is good for me is good for others."
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Several cast members in this relentlessly funny and clever play take multiple roles. Tim Wallers earns his corn as Huw Edwards (for whom Boris ruffles hair and dissembles on cue), the faintly sinister and very camp Evegeny Lebedev and a brilliant Tony Blair.
Davina Moon turns in a knowing performance as various Johnson squeezes. Arabella Weir is superb as Gove's in-house guru Sarah Vine though her Winston Churchill was less successful - a reflection not of Weir but of stretching the cast too far. And Will Barton's Boris is simply brilliant: voice, mannerisms and looks.
Director Lotte Wakeham sets a cracking pace and the sparkling dialogue leaves us with many priceless moments: Boris punching the Rev Gove is not to be missed.
Maitland has produced a comic masterpiece but although he's thrown a lot of stuff up in the air, he has missed the central paradox.
With Farage's Brexit Party likely to eclipse the Tories on May 23, has Boris (and chums) destroyed the party that could have delivered him the power he pathologically craves?
Essential for north London's Chattering Classes.
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