Rated 🍯 🍯🍯🍯🍯
Spitting Image: The Musical, currently playing at the Phoenix Theatre in London, is a hilarious satirical take on British royalty, politics and culture. And it is so, so funny.
But the bee should hasten to add its usual disclaimer about funny plays: the bee’s sense of humour is bizarre (to say the least) and doesn’t usually agree with what everyone else thinks of as funny. Also, the bee is not particularly familiar with Spitting Image the original show (neither the classic nor the more recent clips doing the rounds on YouTube), but found that that does not pose a problem at all.
Now that that’s out of the way, your faithful Theatre Bee can’t emphasise enough just what a refreshing, wholesome and comforting blend of novelty and accessibility this play is, making it enjoyable for both those well-versed in UK politics and those who are not (although you may want to look up the beloved Paddington Bear, if you’re not familiar with that adorable creature. Not because Paddington is an important or significant character in the play, quite the contrary. Only because he is so cute and lovable).
One of the standout moments in the show is the unexpected appearance of Tom Cruise. Who better than one of Hollywood’s biggest stars and a celebrated member of the Church of Scientology to grace the British with his Mission Impossible-style thwarting of a coup d’état, which incidentally, is led by…well, I won’t say, but it’s honestly not that hard to guess. It’s only one of the most controversial, and perhaps most ridiculed, figure in British politics over the last couple of years. Oh wait, that doesn’t really narrow it down.
Anyway, played by a talented team of puppeteers, Cruise’s presence adds a refreshing and hilarious touch to the performance, and the audience was in absolute riots during his scenes.
Further, Spitting Image features several parodies of well-known songs, adding another layer of entertainment to the show. One of the highlights is King Charles singing (and dancing) “We will, we will, rule you”.
The humour in Spitting Image is relatable but not too predictable, striking the perfect balance for audience members who may know the headlines of British politics but are not aware of the nuances and subtleties. The show keeps you on your toes, and you'll find yourself laughing at moments you didn't expect. Rishi Sunak was especially memorable for his overgrown schoolboy adorning shorts with a suit and tie.
In conclusion, Spitting Image: The Musical is a must-see for anyone looking for a night of laughter and entertainment. With its clever satire, brilliant puppetry, and hilarious parodies, the show is a testament to the talent and creativity of its creators and performers. Don't miss your chance to catch this fantastic production at the Phoenix Theatre in London.
Watched June 2023 at the Phoenix Theatre, London.