Review: Dominic Lee on ‘The Last Temptation of Boris Johnson’

Written by Arts, Reviews, Theatre

Political satire ‘The Last Temptation of Boris Johnson’ made its way to the Northern Stage last weekend after a number of hit shows around the country.

The play revolves around Boris’ journey through Brexit, from his battle between leave and remain all the way through to a predicted view of 2029 where, shock of the century, Brexit has gone terribly wrong.

The play, written by Jonathan Maitland is full of political humour and each political figure that Johnson is visited by is written with incredible detail. Throughout the night, Johnson is visited by visions of Winston Churchill, Maggie Thatcher and Tony Blair who all try to convince him of their views around Europe and Britain’s future in it. In the present day, Johnson is competing with Michael Gove back and forth as the two stab each other in the back over and over again.

Image: Pamela Raith

The pacing of the play is steady but never feels like it is dragging at any point, as there is a constant stream of gags to keep the audience drawn in. The use of previous political figures in the play also guarantees laughs, as audience members seemed to enjoy mocking their past and present leaders over the course of the show. The set was also used cleverly as the same basic props were used for each scene.

All the performances throughout the show are simultaneously very convincing and hilarious. Particular attention was given to the accents of each character, with some so convincing that if you closed your eyes you could almost hear Churchill giving his famous speech.

Writing a comedy about politics in today’s times is a bold move, as the country has never been more divided than it is at the moment. However, I really do believe that ‘The Last Temptation of Boris Johnson’ did a good job of uniting Leavers and Remainers together under a common banner of comedy.

There are enough gags about both sides to make us forget about our problems and the danger of our future. However, the show also provides a useful social commentary about the times we live in. Whilst, the performances of our powerful politicians are hilarious they are also scarily accurate. The moment you realise that what you’re laughing about is actually funny because it’s true is a scary one. It tells us that there’s something wrong. However, at the end of the day this play serves its purpose. If we weren’t laughing, we’d be crying.

Last modified: 4th March 2020

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