Trump: The Musical

1 March
53Two

Blowfish Theatre's knack for political pantomime villainy is touring at the moment with Trump: The Musical, including a two-night stay at Manchester's 53Two. Switching satirical crosshairs from domestic (see last year's Boris: The Musical) to international, Blowfish's skill is in crafting an all-too-likely near-future scenario for their caricatures to run wild through wheaty fields of slapstick, singsongs and pop culture references. What Trump: The Musical does when life is handed these dystopian lemons is to squeeze out every last sweetness, sourness, bitterness and zest from its protagonists' plentiful juicy foibles and flaws.

Much of the comic farce hinges on some strokes of casting and framing inspiration. The imagining of Nigel Farage - who at the time was receiving heckles and boos from the Question Time audience for his hypocrisy in reliance on the 'populist' creation - in the bully boy mould is reminiscent of The Office's Finchy: detestable, deplorable and driven by his own multiple weaknesses. David Burchhardt's central performance as The Donald captures, interrogates and extracts the finer details of the wigged wind-up-merchant's mannerisms, even if the accent is occasionally wayward. Putin's raunchy pursuit of domination elicits some of the more memorable songs. Even the secondary face-offs in the corridors of power contribute to the carnage, including canny roles for Trump's personal assistant and the personification of the Media Liberal Elite.

Other miscreants are a little wide of the mark. For example, the balancing act of K-pop parody exuberance and depravity for Kim Jong-un eked out at best nervous laughter, but contributed to the wider narrative of a script that overall serves up chuckle-worthy gems of irreverence at regular intervals. Its diverse material spans one-liners on David Icke's lizard overlords to lyrics on the London Congestion Charge, and creates surreal settings, from Trump's subconscious to chase scenes evocative of 32-bit computer gaming.

There's even a brief cameo by the star of Blowfish Theatre's last production, Boris Johnson, serving as a reminder of their growing reputation as purveyors of parody.

Ian Pennington