Ten political shows at the 2022 Edinburgh Fringe | Boris still looms large at the festival

Ten political shows at the 2022 Edinburgh Fringe

Boris still looms large at the festival

As Boris Johnson shuffles away with his final Prime Minister's Questions today, here are ten shows trying to make sense of the shitshow that has been Westminster politics of late...

Boris The Third

While at Eton our soon-to-be-ex-Prime Minister took the lead role in a production of Richard III. It will surprise no one that  he wasn’t prepared, didn’t learn his lines (pasting pages of the script to pillars) and the result was chaos. So Adam Meggido – co-creator of  Showstopper! The Improvised Musical – was inspired to imagine what that school play might have been like. Harry Kershaw from Play That Goes Wrong collective Mischief Theatre plays the teenage clown in this ‘possible origin story’ Pleasance Courtyard 4.10pm

Boris Live at Five

Described as a ‘chat-show-cum-Question-Time-cum-work-event’ this improvised show invites the audience to ask anything of the PM… and he promises not to hide in a fridge to avoid answering them. The format was created by playwright Jonathan Maitland, inspired by his 2019 play The Last Temptation of Boris Johnson, and stars Will Barton who took the role of the shabby leader in that show. Gilded Balloon at the Museum, 5pm

Charlotte Johnson: My Dad and Other Lies

The Edinburgh debut of one of Boris Johnson's illegitimate children. Yes, we are going to have to narrow that down a bit…  Charlotte Johnson is a theatre maker, actress, surf instructor, potter, painter and presenter of the podcast Daddy’s Girls – who insists she has made her way in the world without any help from family connections. But given who she shares her genes with, you’d be forgiven for thinking that wasn’t 100 per cent true. Nor is she quite who she says she is – Charlotte’s surname is really Evans and she first developed this idea as an audio mockumentary as part of the BBC New Creatives scheme. And now it’s a Fringe theatre show. Pleasance Dome 4.05pm


Sarah Southern: Scandalous

A former political aide to the Conservative Party under David Cameron, Southern has worked in and around Westminster for over a decade.  And in 2012, she became embroiled in the ‘cash for access’ controversy after undercover journalists from The Sunday Times filmed the Conservative co-treasurer Peter Cruddas apparently offering access to the Prime Minister and his Chancellor George Osborne for £250,000. Southern is alleged to have introduced the journalists to Cruddas, while boasting to friends she had made ‘a tidy sum’ by introducing people to the Prime Minister. She turned to comedy in 2017 and this debut show promises to ‘pull the curtain back on the reality of being front and centre of a political scandal and what comes next.’ PBH's Free Fringe @ Voodoo Rooms, 1.40pm. Nor is Southern the only former political aide at the festival, with frequent visitors Matt Forde, a former adviser to Labour under Tony Blair, and Ayesha Hazarika, who got an MBE after advising Harriet Harman and Ed Miliband, both returning (Pleasance Courtyard 8pm and Gilded Balloon Teviot, 2pm, 8-11 only respectively)

Michael Spicer: The Room Next Door

But enough of real advisers, Michael Spicer has built up quite the social media following for being a fake one – with his exasperated rants at what passes for Westminster’s finest amassing a total of 60million views. The premise of his videos is that he’s an aide feeding Ministers lines down their earpiece, but they never take his advice. In his Edinburgh show he talks about making comedy under the radar and the dangers of social media fame, as well as performing new sketches. Assembly George Square 3.40pm, from 19th

Geoff Norcott: I Blame The Parents

The only right-wing comedian on the comedy circuit before loads of them came out of the woodwork returns to the Fringe with his latest show all about that traditional Conservative touchstone: personal responsibility. He believes it’s gone out the window – and blames it all on the parents.  Underbelly Bristo Square 5.20pm from August 12.

Kate Smurthwaite: Humanity's Last Hope

From the other side of the divide, Kate Smurthwaite, a regular agitator on TV debate shows and Extinction Rebellion activist, promises to take ‘one last long shot at saving us all from global fascist-led environmental Armageddon’ via the medium of a Fringe show…
PBH's Free Fringe @ Banshee Labyrinth, 7.40pm

Conrad Koch: White Noise

Conrad Koch is South Africa's top comedy ventriloquist… which doesn’t sound like much of a boast, or even especially political. But his best known character is the political analyst, Mr. Chester Missing, a regular on the topical TV comedy  Late Night News with Loyiso Gola and on his own weekly satirical news show, Almost News with Chester Missing. He was also the first puppet in history to win a court case after being sued for calling out a musician over racist comments. His Edinburgh show, White Noise, is all about racism, apartheid and colonialism – and he wrote an article for Chortle last month about the racist foundations of comedyPleasance Couryard 9.45pm


Scottish-Nigerian model Eunice Olumide is best known for promoting labels including  Mulberry, Alexander Wang and Vivienne Westwood – but says: ‘Comedy is where my heart is, but since I’m not known as a comedian I’ve had to put myself on the line and push back against all those telling me to"stay in my lane".’ Her debut show AfroPolitiCool,  promises an ‘exploration into the crazy and complicated world of the modern day political narcissists, sociopaths and psychopaths running the planet’. It’s not her first foray into politics as she’s clashed with Piers Morgan on Good Morning Britain and appeared on Question Time. The Stand’s New Town Theatre, 8.30pm

Stand Up For The People

Less serious, this one, as Britain’s Got Talent impressionist Danny Posthill reckons comedians would do a better job of running the country, so imagines a Cabinet comprising Michael McIntyre, Alan Carr, Lee Evans and more… Frankenstein Pub 7.30pm

Published: 20 Jul 2022

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