Writers: Jon Brittain &Matt Tedford
Director: Jon Brittain
Reviewer: Deborah Klayman
All that glitters is not gold – sometimes it is made of Iron! An enjoyable romp, chock full of 80s references and underscored by a superb soundtrack, Margaret Thatcher Queen of Soho is camp comic cabaret of the highest order.
A reimagining of the events leading up to the passing of Section 28 in 1988, Matt Tedford’s Maggie takes a wrong turn in Soho and ends up as an unlikely drag diva. Originally conceived as a 15-minute sketch, Tedford and co-writer Jon Brittain have created a successful narrative for the piece without losing its satirical bite. Flanked by “the wets”- two sidekicks adept at high kicks – perhaps the lady could be for turning after all?
For those of a certain age, jokes at the expense of the first female Prime Minister are never going to miss the mark. Mentions of the poll tax and visual gags about milk snatching elicit laughs and groans of recognition, while Nico Lennon’s panto villainess Jill Knight (boo!) and Ed Yelland‘s swaggering saviour Peter Tatchell (yay!) encourage audience participation.
Tedford’s portrayal of Thatcher is surprisingly understated, with a sincere attempt to replicate her look rather than a huge investment in wigs and sequins. What is far from underplayed are the jokes, the asides, and the biting responses to heckles; and Tedford is at his absolute best when putting an over-zealous audience member firmly in their place. During the second half, Lennon and Yelland’s hysterical representation of Winston Churchill threatens to upstage the Grocer’s Daughter, but in a last minute move that Bucks Fizz would be proud of Tedford successfully steals the final scenes.
MTQOS is a thoroughly entertaining night in a venue that’s a perfect fit. This may be the first time you have clapped and cheered for Maggie, so you are bound to leave feeling a bit dirty – but mostly in the good way.
Runs until 21st March