Boris: World King

Boris: World King is a giddy, silly and savagely satirical delight. Impeccable performances match impeccable writing in this unique take on one of Britain’s most unique figures. The premise is that Boris Johnson has come to the Fringe to win a Foster’s Comedy Award, as part of his inevitable plan to become world king, and he certainly deserves it (the award, not the world).

As the play races towards its deeply satirical and deeply satisfying ending, one is quite prepared to say, ‘Hail Boris: World King!’

David Benson is fantastic as Boris, mixing bumbling charm with bawdy humour in a performance that is just the right side of caricature. Even at his creepiest he somehow never manages to be anything other than adorable. Which is odd as things do get very creepy at some points. (Beautiful women are selected from the audience either to play wiff waff or to be sat on). If nothing else Benson’s sheer exuberance is enough to win the audience over to his side.

Alice McCarthy also does an excellent job as the multi-roling straight man to Boris’ fool. Though some of the roles she inhabits call for little more than frustrated reticence, she handles her more dramatic moments with great sensitivity.

Tom Crawshaw’s new script fizzes with wit and densely packed jokes. Some of the games it plays with the fourth wall and audience interaction are the funniest I've ever seen. But it also is intelligent enough to interrogate its own humour and reveal the rather sinister role comedy has had in Boris’ life. It allows him to get away with broken promises and national scandals so long as he can pull off a buffoonish smile and some quip about mea culpa. Eventually we see, in glimpses and glances, the bullying megalomaniac that lies beneath the lovable image of the toffish clown.

As the play races towards its deeply satirical and deeply satisfying ending, one is quite prepared to say, ‘Hail Boris: World King!’

Reviews by Rory Mackenzie

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Performances

Location

The Blurb

Britain's favourite comedy-politician takes a quick summer recess from his two part-time jobs to present a play about his life at the Edinburgh Fringe. After serving as Eton's Head Boy, Oxford Union President, and Mayor of London, Boris now eyes the biggest prize of them all ... the Foster’s Comedy Award. A sparkling new satire from award-winning writer Tom Crawshaw: 'both smart and funny' (Times), and Fringe-favourites Three's Company, creators of 2013's sell-out hit Not the Messiah. 'Magnificent' **** (Chortle.co.uk). 'Incredible' ***** (ThreeWeeks). 'A pure dream' ***** (BroadwayBaby.com). 'Mesmerising' ***** (FringeGuru.com).

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