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Edinburgh Fringe 2010

Oh What a Lovely War on Terror

Angels and Virgins Theatre Company



Low Down

"A comic examination of the blundering buffoonery that is the War on Terror."


The Iraq War was a crime, the facts of which must be told and retold to the eternal shame of those British politicians who knew that Blair was lying and yet supported it:  the vast majority of the British Public however can sleep with a clear conscience since at least 80% were vehemently opposed to the War from the start – one in five of the entire population – over  2million people from all backgrounds, ages, racial origin, sexual orientation or political affiliation – actually took to the streets and marched through the streets of London shouting their well-reasoned opposition to the War. 

Now how can such a heinous crime be treated as a suitable subject for satirical revue?   Toby Jones has rightly concluded that comedy is often one of the deadliest weapons against the wicked – as deadly and less bloody than a punch up.  If Oh What a Lovely War In Iraq wasn’t the ultimate Weapon of Mass Destruction (of the shameful reputation of Britain’s self-seeking and deceitful Prime Minister and his ignorant partner across the Pond , George Bush Jnr ,who made a poodle of him) this production certainly made a well-informed stab at it.  The revue-style satire was well-researched, witty and pacey and it’s well  worth a visit. 
All the cast maintained a high-octane delivery to the ultimate war crimes Court in the Hague denouement.  Oskar McCarthy’s impression of Blair sticks in my mind as one of the best I’ve heard.  The writing of the Judge’s Summing up and Counsels’ Speeches was particularly impressive – succinct and telling.  The style  here was in contrast to the very cerebral, high word/fact rate delivery in the opening scenes. So rapid and intense was the early exposition that some impact was lost:  a more selective catalogue of the facts leading up to hostilities would perhaps have strengthened the argument   and in the whirlwind of accusation some  witty throw-aways were thrown too far!  
Inevitably the very limited space in this Venue posed physical limitations on movement and grouping, notwithstanding, I felt the visual vocabulary of the production was unnecessarily limited:  the introduction of colour and more imaginative escape from the ‘line-up’ would have helped to point the dense text. 
This was however an enjoyable  evening and a timely reminder of an episode in World History which needs constant exposure – if anyone ever learns from the past.