When Blair had Bush and Bunga

The aptly named Bungabunga Productions have implored you to see this show before they get sued. From the record level of name-dropping and the outrageous stereotypes that take place, I wouldn’t be remotely surprised - but I still wouldn’t bother.

This has all the makings of a successful farce, but the pace is horrendously slowed down by the distinctly unfunny writing.

Tony and Cherie Blair are joined by a multitude of political members for a holiday in Barbados, in order for a series of contrived plot points to take place over a show that is easily half an hour too long. These plots points are scattered so widely that it is unclear what the crux of the drama is supposed to be - there are so many minor conflicts without any real climax that it became quite frustrating as more and more pointless tangents emerged. The cast produce an array of entertaining caricatures: Clive Mantle’s George Bush was fantastically thick, and Christopher Staines nailed the nervous, needy energy of Tony Blair in the early noughties. There were, however, some seriously dodgy accents - Mantle’s American twang at points was less Mr President and more Kermit the Frog - and even dodgier stereotypes throughout. Most of these were borderline offensive, as is the nature of political satire, but some overstepped the mark by far. The two housemaids, Heartbeat (Nicola Blackman) and Bijoux (Linda John-Pierre), seemed to exist purely to cluck, hiss and sass about the stage, and watching Silvio Berlusconi (Joseph Long) chase them about felt like a cross between a pantomime and a Carry On film.

This has all the makings of a successful farce, but the pace is horrendously slowed down by the distinctly unfunny writing. Why Cilla Black had to be dragged in I don’t know - whether intended as a tribute, it certainly came across in poor taste. From the extensive opening scene to the deus ex machina ending, When Blair had Bush and Bunga felt outdated, sexist and far too typecast to be funny. I wonder how much these actors were paid for this show, because it probably wasn’t enough.

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Performances

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The Blurb

We’re all going on a summer holiday… 2001. Tony and Cherie Blair are holidaying at Cliff Richard’s sumptuous pad in Barbados. Joining them is Tony’s close friend and adviser Alastair Campbell, along with Cherie’s therapist Carole Caplin and her Aussie beau Shane. Silvio Berlusconi and Michael Winner drop in for the party, George Bush is pumped to find a guy called Al Kida and the Pope’s on the phone. Don't miss the hilarious first play by Patrick Ryecart, the director of hit comedy Jus' Like That – before we get sued!

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