Review: 'Brexit the musical' – The Edinburgh Festival Fringe

Lewis Baird

The Edinburgh Festival Fringe has finished for the year! This year marked 70 years of the festival which brings people to this historic city. Does this internationally famous festival still live up to expectation?

This year thousands of shows were performed, dotted around Scotland’s stunning capital city. I never really managed to catch as many shows as I wanted to however the overall atmosphere at the festival was amazing. On high street you can catch free street performers performing on your way up the royal mile. There were also numerous free shows available in many different venues. Obviously, the most common shows on at the festival are comedy shows, whether that’s a play, a musical or even a comedian, there are loads of comedy shows available for the Fringe audience to laugh at.

One show I did catch which I feel like I have to highlight, was a musical comedy named, Brexit the musical. Yes, this is a musical. Many people are probably looking at this review thinking, “Are you being serious? How can you review a musical which is probably horrific, the music will be awful, the story line will be non-existent and the characterisation will be poor?”

Ok, so time to surprise you. Brexit the musical, was actually very good. Not just on terms of comedy, but in terms of a musical, it worked very well. I was very apprehensive on what to expect when going to see a musical about Boris Johnston shitting himself because he has won the vote on leaving the European Union, therefore finds someone to be prime minister (Theresa May) while he goes with Michael Gove to look for George Osbourne’s plans on what to do if the left campaign won.

The music was all very contemporized, which is a good thing, I think one of my favourite numbers was actually sung by the actor who played Labour leader, Jeremy Corbyn, it was about how he wasn’t upset about Brexit, he was upset he couldn’t go to Glastonbury, smoke weed and watch Adele. Which, was pretty hilarious. The actor who played Boris Johnston nailed this character on the head, his gruff voice and wacky characteristics were the main thing which made this show hilarious.

At first, I was questioning the direction they decided to take the portrayal of Theresa May, it seemed like they were making her too nice. They seemed to make her seem innocent with all the catastrophes that Brexit brought. However, it then came to her making her first speech as prime minister, of course this is done in song. It starts off soft and lovely, I think the lyric was, “I will make a government which benefits all.” Or something like that, she then slams the book shut and goes, “What!? Come on boys, we’re still the tory party!” The song then descends into a rock piece, where she basically lists all of Theresa’s policies which are for the few not the many.

The music in this show is good, however as well as impersonating some of the UK’s most famous politicians, the cast needs to be able to sing well to deliver the music the way it deserves to be performed. There was not a single bad singer within that cast. I think it also helped that the acoustics in the venue were possibly the best I have heard.

I am going to give Brexit the musical 3/5 stars. The only thing dragging it down was that the set was a bit tacky and reused, which is to be expected, it’s a show which most likely needs to have removable scenery so that another show can use that theatre at another point of the day. There were some points where I feel there could be more comical nods, Jeremy Corbyn sitting all the time, wheat fields, plus strong and stable were nodded, however, there felt like there were opportunities for more nods to famous failures of this political disaster which is still unfolding within the UK. It was still a highly entertaining production which I would recommend for anyone to see, the pricing is great for the standard of production this is.

The Edinburgh Festival Fringe is an amazing platform for artists to create or re-create productions and showcase it to tourists, locals, press, agents and other artists. If you ever have the opportunity to visit or even if you want to take part in the fringe, please, do it! It’s an amazing experience for the audience, therefore, I can only imagine (for now) how it is for the actors, comedians, writers, directors, and technicians helping make this annual event possible. It maybe 70 years young but it’s still a truly awesome experience.