Bizarre is the word that has stalked my mind since watching
Bullingdon is a ramshackle production
We open with an older David Cameron (Adam Martin-Brooks); it isn’t clear if the scene is making light of dementia or condemning Cameron’s disregard for others. We quickly travel back in time to Oxford. The main issue with the way Cameron is presented is that he doesn't really resemble the man that we all know; there is no intriguing twisting of his demeanour or even caricature. At least Boris (Luke Richards) sounds accurate and has the dynamism to convey youth as he storms on stage in a wacky wig and shiny suit. There are no interesting insights into the subjects, but rather stale one-sided characters who have already been done better by others. When Margaret Thatcher (Alison Young) appears as the queen of the boys’ hearts and the main subject of the farce’s disgust, we are at least treated to some character work – even if she appears more like the Queen than Thatcher.
All this might be forgiven if there was any sense of tone, however the piece is devoid of such with awkward gaps preventing momentum. The performances as well as a simplistic script by writer Tess Humphrey rely heavily on a selective audience, even though the event exudes universal comic potential. There are other issues: questionable references to Jewish people stick out, while we are often not quite sure what is happening. Neither The Bullingdon Club’s significance nor the boys’ constant sexism (in spite of their reverence for Thatcher) are ever definitively explained. A dance number to Baba O’ Riley is unfounded, rhythm is repetitive and non-varied, while pacing is nonexistent.
Bullingdon Revisited is a ramshackle production; audio comes late, at one point so late it caused the actors to break character in a bizarre interlude where the pig’s head quotes Enoch Powell. As well as tech, reactions often came before the action they were responding to, indicating a serious lack of active listening and receiving.
Bullingdon Revisited has many things going for it. The cast provide abundant energy and commitment while the script includes great gags – Boris is seemingly unable to pronounce his own middle name – but they aren’t well executed and opportunities are missed. The piece’s main issue, however, is that it does little to no work to create something engaging and seemingly relies almost completely on an audience it has little respect for to share its sense of humour and mindset. The irony is that it seems to resemble a play put on by a boy’s boarding house in the Bullingdon itself.