Last night (the night of the General Election) the GORGEOUS Rebecca from Official Theatre organised a fantastic night for a group of #Ldntheatrebloggers. We were invited to a press night of a new musical called ‘Vote for Me’ written by Scott Elmegreen and Drew Fornarola which is currently being staged at the London Theatre Workshop in Fulham.
There are a number of political plays around London at the moment that aim to educate or influence us but what sets VOTE FOR ME apart from the rest is that instead of being about our own political parties it is a tongue in cheek musical about an American Presidential race which is cleverly crafted and hilariously entertaining.
The first of our candidates is Republican Buddy Rounsaville, brilliantly portrayed by Hans Rye. Likeable Buddy struggles to memorise his party’s policies and how to pronounce political leader’s names, he is a candidate purely due to his wife Amy’s ambitions. Jenny Jacobs plays Buddy’s controlling wife who schemes and contrives to make Buddy’s campaign work together with his ‘advisor’ played by Joe Leather, they will stop at nothing to make sure Buddy succeeds by spinning stories or dragging up scandals.
Buddy’s opposition is Democrat candidate Janet Tilghman, played by the glorious Emily Lynne who I recently saw in She Loves Me. Janet aims to be the first woman in the Whitehouse, highly ambitious she is desperate to prove that women have a place in politics. She desperately wants to be able to make her own decisions but has some interesting manifestos which involve spending as much money as is necessary and solving the crisis in the Middle East by building ‘Middle East Disney’.
Her gentle husband Roger played by Arvid Larsen is eager to support his wife but finds it hard to balance family life and her ambition.
The show takes place around a televised debate led by presenter Robyn Fiedler (Lucy Grainger). Fiedler grills the candidates with question after question on their policies until it becomes quite clear to her that she could do far better than the two nincompoops in front of her.
After the debate is over the cast stress the importance of voting and Lucy Grainger sings a show-stopping musical number that reels off a list of all the countries where more people turn out to vote than in America. This list is so long that it makes the array of colours in Joseph’s Technicolour Dreamcoat seem short but even more impressively is that Grainger not sings the entire list but also dances with flags at the same time.
Once the candidates had duly pitched their causes and conducted last minute frenzied canvassing, the audience were asked to cast their votes for either Democrat or Republican which were then duly counted. At the performance last night the Democratic party narrowly won leading to joyous celebrations and yes, we were assured that ’Vote for me’ has two different endings depending on how the audience vote, reason for a return visit indeed!
The songs are witty with great melodies and would not be out of place on a bigger stage but this talented cast of six performs them with incredible pizzazz. During the musical numbers props are extensively used delighting the audience. There is never a dull moment.
With recent successes as Yarico and Apartment 40C under their belt I was delighted to see that the London Theatre Workshop under the artistic direction of Ray Rackham and Tom Lees has yet again produced another “landslide victory”. Director Dom O’Hanlon injects humour by the bucketful. For a light hearted fun night out this production certainly has it all. It is bright, funny and totally refreshing.
‘VOTE FOR ME’ is the perfect antidote to all the General Election hype we have had over the last few weeks Running until the 23rd of May, I vote for this production as a sure-fire winner. Whoever said politics was boring?
Vote for me runs at the London Theatre Workshop until the 23rd May 2015
Coming soon – a feature about the #ldntheatrebloggers night out including details of a Question and Answer session with the cast.