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Corbyn the Musical: The Motorcycle Diaries review – ‘sharp satire’

Martin Neely in Corbyn the Musical: The Motorcycle Diaries. Photo: Rupert Myers

In a Britain not too far in the political future, Vladmir Putin has decided to reignite a nuclear threat. As the nation turns to its leader for guidance, it seems that newly appointed premier Jeremy Corbyn is refusing to enter into negotiations. The reason is explained in this sharply scripted new musical by political pundits Bobby Friedman and Rupert Myers with original music by Jen Green.

A small ensemble is led by Martin Neely, who makes an arresting Corbyn, blessed with a bold, tenor belt and a killer sense of comic timing. He is supported by a versatile David Muscat, hilariously doubling as both Vladimir Putin and Boris Johnson and a wonderful Natasha Lewis, revealing hidden depths as sometime wild child Diane Abbott.

The cut and thrust of Friedman and Myers’ script is exceptional, lampooning familiar politicians such as Johnson, Tony Blair and Putin with unequivocal glee and wholly deserved irreverence. Green’s catchy score references everything from 70s funk to Broadway and the songs slip snugly into the narrative, adding texture to the piece.  Despite nailing both political and musical satire so perfectly, the show is sadly let down by a sudden and wholly unsatisfactory ending.

Verdict
Tightly scripted musical satire blessed with a talented ensemble but let down by an injudicious finale

Production Information

Production
Corbyn the Musical: The Motorcycle Diaries
Venue
Waterloo East Theatre
City
London
Starts
April 12, 2016
Ends
April 30,2016
Press night
April 13, 2016
Book
Bobby Friedman, Rupert Myers
Music
Jen Green
Lyrics
Bobby Friedman, Rupert Myers
Director
Adam Lenson
Musical director
Tim Shaw
Choreographer
Mel Simpson
Set
Chris Hone
Lighting
Chris Withers
Sound
Mike Thacker
Costume
Chris Hone
Technical
Lily O'Hara (costume supervisor)
Stage manager
Elizabeth Webb
Cast includes
Martin Neely, Natasha Lewis, David Muscat, Jennifer Hepburn, Jonathan Chambers, James Dinsmore
Producer
Bobby Friedman, Rupert Myers
Running time
2hrs 20mins