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Edinburgh Sweet Grassmarket (Venue 18)
Until Sunday 28th August 2016
Donald J Trump is a serious news story. He could become the leader of the United States of America in 2017. He could be in control of one of the most powerful countries in the world. That makes him international news. His every action and pronouncement is studied across the globe. Has any other runner for America’s top job been under so much scrutiny? Simon Jay has clearly studied his actions closely. He has done his homework on the presidential candidate. Just like Charles Chaplin studied Adolf Hitler before making the Great Dictator. The result is Trumpageddon. A show filled with statements that a more shocking because we know a future leader actually said them in public.
Simon Jay has looked carefully at both Trump’s physical and verbal ticks to produce an all too convincing caricature – a human form of a Spittin’ Image puppet.
The show begins with the US anthem and then Trump takes to the lectern. He issues thinly veiled insults about the British leaders before taking questions from the floor. Here is the clever element which shows the research that has gone into the show. The reaction to each question from the audience is either to repeat a statement that Trump has made or to rebuff the comment in a style that the audience will recognise from his many TV appearances. This makes for a convincing monster.
Some theatrics are added into the mix. We have the paintings from his grand children complete with worrying explanations and a continuing theme of how his Grandma could have influenced his adulthood. This interludes don’t go on too long nor do they try to justify the pronouncements that he comes up with.
The audience during this particular show were a mixed group including visitors from India, Canada, Australia and the US and none were supporters of the real Trump. The audience gave as good as one would imagine they would with the real Trump and Simon Jay responded as we have witnessed on our evening news. It made for a interesting debate. Yes, there were laughs.Yes, there was golf. But there was also a worrying hollowness to the humour. Could a man that said these things soon have his finger on the nuclear button soon?
Trumpageddon is an empathetic insight into the man seeking power -not empathetic to Trump himself though, the emotion is ultimately directed at those affected by his many outbursts. Simon Jay has done well to capture the man and bottle the content in which he is held by today’s audience. Possibly the scariest show at the fringe this year! Recommended.
This review was written by Stephen Oliver the North East Theatre Guide – follow Stephen at @panic_c_button
Tickets cost £8.50 (£6.50 conc) and are available at the usual Fringe outlets, the venue or online at: https://tickets.edfringe.com/whats-on/trumpageddon