A panoply of productions about Brexit, Trump and alt-right politics are gracing this year’s Edinburgh Fringe –
Finding an original angle on something as widely satirised as the Trump presidency is a tall order, and ultimately this show falls short of that mark.
The two-man show zooms in on the final days of the precarious administration, as an ebullient Donald Trump (Zach Tomasovic) and an anxious Jared Kushner (Nate McLeod) fend off their critics in a desperate bid to cling on to power. Things all start to unravel though, when Donald decides to sell military intelligence to a Machiavellian Vladimir Putin (Nate McLeod, again). Soon incriminating recordings emerge, impeachment looms and Trump locks himself in the bathroom to escape.
The farcical plotline is robust enough for a comedy of this nature. Similarly strong is the barrage of bad puns and the informative smattering of political trivia – who knew that Mike Pence calls his wife ‘mother’? McLeod also deserve credit for playing such a multitude of parts, surely setting a record for the most American politicians impersonated in a single hour.
These accomplishments, however, are sadly undermined by the show’s shortcomings. Rather than trying to convincingly mimic their characters, the performers instead offer pastiches. The show struggles to find an original angle from which to satirise ‘the Donald’. Jokes about Trump’s infantile incompetence, his negligible attention span, and his homoerotic relationship with Vladimir Putin feel slightly cliché. The punchlines can be predictable and they sometimes rely on problematic gay tropes – it’s uncomfortable to watch and does a poor job of challenging Trump’s own homophobia.
Finding an original angle on something as widely satirised as the Trump presidency is a tall order, and ultimately this show falls short of that mark. It’s not without redeeming qualities, but the hit-and-miss gags need a bit more work to be truly convincing.