Writer: Tess Humphrey
Director: Sam Hart
Reviewer: Matt Forrest
It’s that classic tale boy meets pigs-head, boy makes love to pigs-head, and boy becomes Prime Minister! You’d have to have been living under a rock to escape the allegations made by Lord Ashcroft that, while at university, former Prime Minister David Cameron slipped his right honourable member into the mouth of a dead pigs-head. Despite ferocious denials that this event took place, these allegations made Cameron a laughing stock which saw him the butt of satirical jokes across the land and may define his legacy more so than Brexit!
Writer Tess Humphrey takes Cameron’s alleged penchant for pork to form the basis of her new satirical play Bullingdon Revisited: Looking at the moment when Dave, a wet behind-the-ear, first year Oxford student, first encounters Boris: a charismatic third year student and president of the Union, but more importantly a member of the notorious Bullingdon Club which Dave desperately wants to be a part of. The two share an awful lot in common: both are extremely wealthy, both show complete and utter contempt for the working class, and both loath foreigners and the disabled.
A series of events lead the new chums to embark on an adventure to London, a quest to meet their ultimate pin-up girl: Margret Thatcher. Along the way there’s a police chase, the opportunity to abuse a disabled person, and of course the now infamous pig-gate.
Humphrey’s script is razor-sharp: it pulls no punches and is all the better for doing so. It’s hugely entertaining and hilarious from start to finish, however, it doesn’t shy away from addressing the social divide that now plagues this country, highlighting the rise of food banks and poverty that is rife in Britain. The cast are superb, Elliot Lloyd and Tom Sidney are clearly having a ball playing David Cameron and Boris Johnson and both throw themselves into the roles with gusto.
These two are aided and abetted by Harriet Forgan who plays all the other characters which include a down trodden bar maid, train passenger and the iron lady herself. Her scene-stealing turn as Margret Thatcher is comic-gold. Her mannerisms and facial expressions are worth the price of admission alone. All three clearly have a gift for comedy and their performances superbly work in conjunction with a fantastic script.
Top marks to director Sam Hart, who certainly knows how to get the best out of his cast. Stand out scenes include: a set photographs showing the debauchery and carnage of Cameron and Johnson’s night out, a sprint to Parliament which had the audience in stitches. That being said the production does have its flaws: there were a few opening night nerves which were minor. My only real gripe was a scene involving an attack on a disabled lady, which is out of place and misjudged in comparison to the tone of the rest of the production.
The play also has a fantastic soundtrack which includes The Smiths – This Charming Man and VIM – Maggie’s Last Party, which adds to the general ‘piss taking’ at the heart of the of the play.
This is fantastic production by the Grand Dame Theatre Company and if this is the quality of its output, then it is certainly exciting times ahead for the Manchester based Production Company. I would also like to give special praise to the 3 Minute Theatre: it’s a cracking unique venue, and a little gem to be found on Oldham Street.
This is a suitably silly, fun and highly entertaining production, which has something, for everyone: greed, power and bestiality. Bullingdon Revisited wouldn’t be out of place doing the rounds at Edinburgh Fringe in years to come.
Bullingdon Revisited is at the 3 Minute Theatre till the 17th September