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Show type: Edinburgh Fringe 2011
Lucifer: My Part in the New Labour Project (And How I Invented Coalition Government)
Comedian Matt Roper plays the Devil in a new political satire by the award-winning writer Terry Newman (Bremner Bird and Fortune, The Way It Is) and directed by Michael Eriera (The Afterlife of Peter Cook and Dudley Moore).
In this ‘audience with’, prior to the publication of his book: The Fourth Man, My Role in New Labour, we finally get the inside story of the political events that shaped a generation. Lucifer has often been proposed as the master manipulator behind the defining policies of recent World Events: the election of George W Bush, the Invasion of Iraq, the rise of Al Qaeda – all these and more have been laid at his door. However, has he always been given credit he deserves? Have others (no names – you know who you are) robbed him of his glory? Now for the first time Lucifer gets the opportunity to put his side of the story: what exactly was his relationship with Tony Blair and those bubble-bath pictures: faked or not? Did he really poke Gordon Brown’s eye out playing rugby at 19? Why do some people call him Samantha? In a fascinating fun and frolic-filled hour: A Song, a Dance and Eternal damnation, Lucifer lets rip on all the issues that matter. And it’s not just politics – it wouldn’t be Satan if he didn’t spill the beans on life with Simon Cowell, hard core gynaecology with Lady Gaga and his time spent as a French motor mechanic. Yes, it’s the full Infernal Guide to Sex, the Media and Religion as well. And all delivered in that inimitable Lucifer style – a song on his lips, sway in the hips and a sacrifice on the barbi!
Lucifer: My Part In New Labour at the 2011 Brighton Fringe
The obvious thing to say about writer Terry Newman's New Labour farce is that it seems like old news. Despite all the obvious parallels with Peter Mandelson's recent memoirs, politics has new baddies now, and the political machinations of the last century seem largely irrelevant
This is offset by a great spirit of mischievous Weimar-style cabaret hat runs through the one-man show, thanks to the charismatic oomph comic Matt Roper brings to the stage. He performs monologues and songs, puppet work and poetry, all at full pelt. His spirit really lifts the mood – but it can only delay the moment the fundamental limitations of the script bite.
There are jokes about George W being a cowboy who says stupid things, cheap jibes at Gordon Brown's visual disability and stating-the-bleeding-obvious comments about how reality TV has made people yearn for fame without achievement.
It’s a coalition of entertaining performance and often uninspired origins that nonetheless yields some moments of uproarious, fun. Such broad comic moments as the silly German psychoanalyst exploring the Blair-Brown relationship provide laughs of daft exaggeration – and it’s not the only highlight. That puppet scene, in which a schoolboy Blair discusses his career options with his foam headmaster, is another plus, as is the Page Three rag and the inspired take on the Chilcott Inquiry.
Roper knows how to squeeze the funnies out of these, but even he can't elevate the more predictable sections into something they are not, and eventually all the goodwill he builds gradually fizzles out like ... well, like the poll ratings of the Labour Party in government.
But it would be a shame to dismiss the good sketches with the bad, so maybe a rewrite could save the day. After all, things can only get better.
|Date of live review: Wednesday 1st Jun, '11|
Review by Steve Bennett
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