Creators: Dark Mutter
Reviewer: Simon Topping
Enthusiastically leaping onto the stage comes Paul from the council – played wonderfully by Patrick Fysh – like a demented children’s entertainer. Paul explains that tonight we are going to see an experimental piece by the West Oakenshott Community Collective and that the outcome of tonight’s performance will determine whether they receive further arts council funding.
The collective enter the drafty tent and introduce themselves. The five-strong team include; a too cool, internet influencer, Sam (Nicky Graham), a militant puppeteer, Henry (Tom Moores), pure labour activist, Ann (Holly Morgan), an uber-rich Corbyn fangirl, Finty (Nic Lamont) and traumatised idiot child adult, Aleisteir (Adam Rhys-Davies).
The show is very funny from the start. The dance routines are very well executed and the group movement always provides laughter, it is a joy to watch. The backdrop of the piece is a look at the life of Corbyn from a child to his fated Glastonbury speech. On top of that comes the bickering from the Community Collective as they attempt to perform and secure their funding, with the always funny interjections of Paul from the council.
There are some fabulous parody songs, the best being a take on the hit musical Hamilton including the founding members of the NHS, Nye Bevin et al, in place of the founding fathers of America.
The production is endlessly inventive; using deodorant as rudimentary dry ice, Tony Benn being played as Yoda, Dianne Abbott and Corbyn breaking down the Berlin wall, defeating Hitler and high fiving David Hasselhoff, all have the crowd in fits of laughter. The wonderful use of the word Shropshites is also a delight.
Rhys-Davies plays Corbyn’s brother to perfection; a wonderful grotesque portrayal which becomes more and more funny as the play develops. His terrifically demented version of Margaret Thatcher also has the tent in fits of giggles.
All the cast (collectively known as Dark Mutter) are fantastic and gel well. Moores as Corbyn hits the right comedy tone every time and Morgan as Ann is very funny as she tries to buddy up with the fashionable character of Sam, never quite getting the terminology right or being cool enough.
The show builds to a fantastic denouement. It is not so much a biography of Corbyn’s life, more a fabulous flight of fancy where anything can happen, regardless of the facts.
Young Corbyn is an irreverent, joyous, bonkers, romp of a show. One not to be missed. Stay on the lookout for Dark Mutter, if they bring anything back to the Fringe or Brighton and Hove go and see it immediately.
Reviewed on 8 May 2019 | Image: Contributed