‘Brexit’, the latest satirical play by Robert Khan and Tom Salinsky draws clear parallels with the modern political landscape. However, the 75-minute production spends a great deal of its time explaining basic concepts surrounding Brexit – which surely cannot be news in 2018 – and ideas of what UK-EU relations could be like four years on are under-explored and relegated to sub-plot status for the majority of the play.
However, ‘Brexit’ is filled with witty, cutting dialogue. The play deftly critiques contemporary politics: from the influence of the DUP, to the Conservatives ineptitude with social media. Brexit is guaranteed to resonate with audiences due to grounding itself firmly in an easily recognisable world.
In a production packed with big names, it is no surprise that every performance is of a high standard. Pippa Evans and Hal Cruttenden excel as the ideological ministers representing each end of the Conservative Party. The fast-paced interactions between their two characters provide some of the play’s most memorable moments. Timothy Bentinck’s prevaricating yet cunning PM is also a joy to watch: capable of Nixonian machinations and ‘frenetic inertia’ in equal measure. Jo Caulfield’s underused EU negotiator adds spectacular intrigue and is at the heart of the most exciting developments within the play. Mike McShane’s astute special advisor provides welcome contrast to a cast otherwise filled with ulterior motives.
It is a shame that much of the play satirizes what is rather than what could be. While there is plenty of material to be gained from today’s politics, it would have been interesting to see greater leaps of imagination taken with creating the world of Brexit. Nevertheless, the dystopian predictions Brexit offers of the near-future are engaging and unnerving in equal measure. It offers a dark vision of a time where personality politics trumps the will to do good. It is a funny, entertaining watch, one that many audiences will hope does not actualise itself in the uncertain times to come.
Brexit runs August 14th-19th and 21st-26th – https://tickets.edfringe.com/whats-on/brexit