Tony! The Blair Musical
  • By Pete Shaw
  • |
  • 12th Aug 2007
  • |
  • ★★★★★

It's impossible to review a musical about Tony Blair without acknowledging that there are two competing productions about his leadership tenure in town. Let's make this clear from the start. If you only have a tenner in your pocket, this is the one to see. Apart from the fact James Duckworth can actually convincingly pull off an imitation of Blair, it's also a funnier, more rounded musical.

Musically, there's all sorts of styles at play here. You'll spot recognisable melodies inspired by Grease all the way through to Les Misérables. The accompanying lyrics are stunningly crafted, with a stomach-punch one-liner every 30 seconds. In particular, the song Former Tory Leaders set to a Barbershop Quartet is excruciatingly funny, with the added irony that Ed Duncan Smith is lampooning his own father.

The non-linear plot takes a fanciful and often sympathetic view of Tony's time in office, played by a talented cast of six at a breakneck pace. Duckworth's performance as Blair was superb, but it would be remiss not to mention Jethro Compton's flirtatious Peter “Mandy” Mandelson or Alex Steven's errant George W. Bush. Every member of the cast is batting way above the weight of a typical student production and I find myself struggling to find enough superlatives to describe just how good this show is. Just go see it and find out for yourself.

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The Blurb

Making government rock! Join Blair, Bush, Brown and a barbershop quartet of Tory leaders for this intimate revue of Tony's Greatest Hits. There ain't no party like a Labour party. 'Bloody Brilliant'

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