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Michael Moore: The Terms of My Surrender review on Broadway – ‘indulgent and meandering’

Michael Moore in The Terms of My Surrender. Photo: Joan Marcus Michael Moore in The Terms of My Surrender. Photo: Joan Marcus
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“How the fuck did this happen?”, asks Michael Moore at the start of the (mostly) solo polemic he has brought to America’s premiere theatrical thoroughfare. “I don’t mean me on Broadway,” he quickly adds.

But if a celebrity TV presenter, most famous for saying “you’re fired!” on eleven series of The Apprentice can become the President of the United States, then perhaps a celebrity activist can have a one-person show on Broadway, too. The celebrity worlds from which they both sprang and have gained their followings are not so very different.

But The Terms of My Surrender has a larger purpose than the two outsize egos it revolves around: Trump and his satirical nemesis Moore. The posters and publicity ask, “Can a Broadway show bring down a sitting President?” And in a punchy, occasionally rambling, illustrated lecture, Moore makes a call for direct action to the troops – who will have paid up to $149 a ticket – to follow his own examples of making change happen.

Moore takes us on an indulgent and meandering tour around some of his achievements, whether it was standing for the management board of his high school after he graduated as a teenager or protesting against President Reagan’s appearance at a Nazi cemetery in Bitburg, Germany.

Not all of this is very theatrical. Moore and his director Michael Mayer, however, keep it entertaining by introducing various set pieces, such as a quiz between two members of the audience that pits the most intelligent American against the dumbest Canadian Moore can find.

Of course, a show like this in New York is preaching to the already converted, seeking affirmation of their dislike of Trump and all that he stands for. So I’m not sure how much good it will actually do. Audiences are likely to leave more smug than angry. As Trump might say, though, it’s a #FakeBroadwayShow.

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Verdict
Indulgent celebrity political rally masquerading as a Broadway show
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