July 7, 2022

The forty seventh on the Outdated Vic | Theatre assessment

It’s not a secret that within the final many years, US-American elections have been the stuff of comedies. How the likes of Bush, Biden and Trump may be thought-about probably the most eligible to steer a rustic delivers a goldmine of comedic potential and calls for to be laughed at, even when simply to make the scenario extra bearable. Mike Bartlett’s The 47th, nonetheless, presents neither route nor resolution, however simply mines drained, outdated jokes. It poses as a satire however by no means actually progresses past being a burlesque. 

That is fairly a pity because the real comedic potential of all concerned candidates is limitless. As an alternative, the assaults in opposition to Trump stay flatly repetitive of what everybody has heard continuous for the previous six years, and the one time Biden is roasted is distastefully advert hominem. No, “viciously humorous” this isn’t; as an alternative, it’s extra of a harrowing fantasy of Trumpian politics taken in probably the most excessive route. 

However, credit score the place it’s due: the play is written in clean verse, and, what’s extra, it doesn’t really feel pressured. The traces movement properly and really feel very laissez-faire, which is in itself fairly an accomplishment, giving it extra of a satirical really feel than the humour itself does.

The encompassing manufacturing is incredible. Bertie Carvel’s Trump is spot-on and hilarious. Even when the jokes don’t at all times work, his impression is breathtaking and convinces proper from the beginning, bringing a bunch of snickers. He’s joined by an entire solid of solely succesful actors, who’re clearly crammed with adoration for the mission. That is simply as effectively, contemplating Rupert Goold’s astute directing makes the perfect out of the script, making a well-paced present that delivers each time it portrays the horrors of the shifts in temper from lighthearted to extreme.

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As such, The 47th does have its share of potential – it’s simply not likely a comedy; for that, it’s too mean-spirited. However inside its limitations it’s nonetheless pleasant. It doesn’t tread any new floor or supply an strategy to bridge the good divide at present plaguing American politics, however is as an alternative merely symptomatic of the identical.

Michael Higgs

The 47th is on the Outdated Vic from 29th March till 28th Might 2022. For additional data or to e book go to the theatre’s web site right here.