Deciding to paint Ukip leader Nigel Farage as a troubled "anti hero" in a cleverly sarcastic musical romp was always going to be a bit of a treat. Let's face it - satirical musical theatre is far from an over saturated sub-genre and so there's definitely room for this kind of material and I can understand the appeal.
The ensemble singing was flawless, the diverse ability of each actor impressive and the tongue-in-cheek tone of the whole thing is carried with ease.
The show is based around the idea that Nigel Farage is a misunderstood victim of various forms of destructive, politically manipulative advice. The nightmares that haunt him, visits from long-dead political giants and bad advice from fellow party members all help to twist his words and change his mind and ultimately end him up far from where he intended to be. Will it be too late for him to fix what he started in time to stop his wife being deported? Or has he just ended up a pitiless pawn in a game much bigger than he is?
Reasonably soon into the start of this show, when the ensemble are singing a beautiful rendition of Europa, You Raped Her. I had a brief wobble of wondering what exactly I was about to watch. It's hard not to feel like that when there's a gang-bang quite so near the start of a show. However things did calm a little, and we discover this is all one of Nigel's dreams and that level of vulgarity isn't explored again.
Part of the charm of this show was the cast's ability to inject integrity into the slightly absurd. This kind of content could easily become offensive if it was performed poorly and yet the cast keep it light and humorous by delivering it so well. The ensemble singing was flawless, the diverse ability of each actor impressive and the tongue-in-cheek tone of the whole thing is carried with ease. Chloe Ward as Boriswas a particular highlight and she really had us behind her performance. Other actors, I felt, over egged it slightly at times, which is dangerous ground with this kind of content.
Lyrically this show isn't hugely exciting as some of the jibes are a little obvious and others I've heard before. The musical arrangements and choreography are also quite standard, however well delivered and polished they may be. I liked this show a lot but I didn't love it, because it didn't excite me.
What Hell Bent do have though, undeniably, is a fantastic company of diverse and funny actors. I for one look forward to seeing what they come up with next!