Jonny Woo’s All Star Brexit Cabaret review at Assembly George Square, Edinburgh – ‘rich satirical cabaret’
Jonny Woo and Richard Thomas’ musical on themes arising from Brexit first saw the light of day at the celebrated Un-Royal Variety Show in 2016. Originally intended as a book musical, Woo and Thomas have rejigged the material and present the piece here as a stand-up cabaret, featuring a trio of vocalists playing the chorus and Woo in full glamour mode as the emcee.
This set-up is complemented by the addition of special guests dropping in as key players including Jayde Adams as Boris Johnson, Carla Lippis as Mama Angela Merkle and Le Gateau Chocolat as Nigel Farage. Performing the work as a song-cycle is a stroke of genius as it allows so much more fluidity to the staging. Woo offers a tongue-in-cheek personal narrative to the evening, but essentially this is a piece less about international politics and more about personal choices.
Thomas, perhaps best known for Jerry Springer: The Opera, has constructed an array of brash, eccentric musical numbers from the contentious Leaver’s Lullaby to the sonorous, poetic simplicity of the Morning After the Vote. As a song cycle, Jonny Woo’s All Star Brexit Cabaret is undeniably entertaining, but the real joy is that the narrative is still pretty much open-ended.