Tony Blair the Musical

Io Theatre's take on the Tony Blair years is a satirical view of his leadership, set to a bitingly funny score. Pretty much all the elements of his ten years in power are there, with only the notable absence of Cherie.

The first ten minutes or so is comic gold. Starting from 1997, the British people are depicted as Muscovite peasants follow 18 years of Tory corruption. We get an early feel for how clever the writing can be when Blair launches into a song with the lyric “today is not a day for soundbites, but I feel the hand of history upon our shoulders.” The audience are floored and it's only just started.

However the gears change as soon as they come out of song and into dialogue. It seemed either under rehearsed or just poorly executed, as the energy they'd managed to capture so early in the show ebbed away. It got better though, and in particular Anton Tweedale's characterisation of Blunkett a little later was pant-wettingly hilarious.

The are many targets that come into the crosshairs for parody. George W., of course, John Prescott, Alistair Campbell, Tessa Jowell. Even 24 hour news culture gets a ribbing. Perhaps there are just too many ideas, and it was all a bit up and down, and maybe some cuts would remove the dead wood and tighten it up.

Reviews by Pete Shaw

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The Blurb

In this, his final year in office, Blair's achievements and ideals are put under the spotlight - and given a tune. His ever-changing public image, his controversial foreign policy, and the things he sacrificed in the name of power are recreated through the unforgettable music of James Lark in an experience every bit as funny, gripping and important as Prime Minister's Question Time… just with more songs.

Io Theatre Company's latest production is a funny and controversial romp through the last ten years of British politics, combining hard-hitting satire with first-rate songs in one of the boldest pieces of political theatre ever produced. The show will run between 1st and 27th August at the Gilded Balloon as part of the 2007 Edinburgh festival Fringe, with London previews in July.