A sold-out crowd awaits drag sensation Jonny Woo and Olivier Award-winning composer Richard Thomas as they take to the Piccolo stage.
While special guests wait in the wings, Woo and Thomas are joined by a trio of vocalists including the Comedy Central championed Sooz Kempner, who quickly proves to be the sharpest and most consistently engaging comedic force on the bill.
Tackling the mildly hysteric build-up to the Brexit referendum through song proves to be an inspired way to form a coherent narrative. The jokes peak when kept simple, as the total breakdown in communication and empathy between voters is addressed by the actors repeatedly singling each other out for abuse, whether they are portraying a veteran or a wheelchair user.
Belly-laughs abound when special guest Le Gateau Chocolat (who’s utterly majestic baritone could comfortably descend past the earth’s mantle, possibly even reaching the inner-core) channels the anguish of the 48% who voted remain on the haunting Oh Shit.
Brexit is a satirical gold-mine, and the show is unfortunately let down by only scratching the surface of it. Portrayals of Boris Johnson and Nigel Farage are wasted opportunities, as the staggering number of blunders both have made over the years (regularly exploited by other comedians and Twitter users) are mostly left untapped in favour of a few recycled lines from Jayde Adams.
The electrifying Carla Lippis performs Mother Merkel’s Euro Vision with effortless charisma, but there is an underlying frustration that Woo simply hasn’t delved into his source material enough, and the songs, particularly The Ballot Box Ballad, could be a lot more memorable with some sharper jabs and insight. Though not always inspired, Jonny Woo’s All Star Brexit Cabaret boasts heart, charm, tremendous costumes (some of which show more rear-end than others, to the delight of the crowd) and excellent performances.
Jonny Woo’s All Star Brexit Cabaret, Assembly George Square Gardens, 8-27 Aug (not 13, 20), 6pm