This is a one-man show in which comedian Simon Jay, armed with orange makeup and Trump-like mannerisms, attempts to satirise one of the most mystifying political phenomenons of our time. It’s a difficult challenge to take on, there is already much to laugh, and shudder at, when it comes to Donald Trump, and Jay’s show certainly isn’t slick and smooth. Then again, Trump himself makes that one of his major selling points.
An average attempt to satirise a man who seems to be almost beyond satire.
Much of the show takes the form of direct interaction between Jay and the audience. Indeed it was in Jay’s interactions with some of the Americans in the audience that some of the funniest points occurred. The actual impersonation of Trump is of mixed quality. The mannerisms are certainly mimicked well, the voice isn’t quite down but he certainly succeeds in showing up Trump as a man making things up off the cuff. I would have expected that with a Trump satire more of the man’s own statements might have made it, Tina Fey/Sarah Palin style, into the performance. They are absurd enough in themselves that if delivered with style.
Other aspects of the performance included a segue into an imitation of “Malaria Trump” (I did laugh there) and her Michelle Obama-plagiarising speech. There were several recorded monologues from an imagined German-accented Trump grandmother which were disappointing and hard to follow or see the point of. The recordings jarred and detracted from the humour of the impersonation itself. Also awkward was the rant that ended the show, featuring Jay’s full transformation into a Nazi-saluting Hitler figure with some gaffer tape for a moustache. Whatever subtlety this show had been grasping at (very little) was abandoned wholesale. As Jay explained at the end, his political views are on the other end of the spectrum of Trump, but while there is certainly a debate to be had about fascist influences on Trump’s rhetoric, perhaps falling foul of Godwin’s Law is not the most effective way to undermine the subject of Jay’s mockery.
Overall this was an average attempt to satirise a man who seems to be almost beyond satire. I will concede that Jay has taken on a difficult task and attempted it with panache, but it doesn’t quite hit the right notes. This show could be much funnier but in its current form it seemed haphazard.