Edinburgh Fringe 2015
New lyrics to old tunes as Scotland’s political parody specialists lampoon the lampoonable with just about everything and everyone in the political establishment in their sights.
By day, two ordinary people, one a journalist, the other a senior figure in Scotland’s voluntary sector. By night, two extraordinarily gifted entertainers.
Back for their umpteenth appearance at the Fringe, Vic Rodrick and Annie Gunner Logan delivered an amusing evening of musical comedy at the Acoustic Music Centre down at St Bride’s Kirk, packed to the gargoyles with locals up for a night of sharp satire. And the Scots love of playing politics is matched by Playing Politics’ love of lampooning just about everyone and everything in this arena ripe for their clearly much loved cutting parody.
There’s plenty of material for them to pick from as well. These last twelve months have seen “the” big vote and, of course, “that” election which saw the SNP sweep out just about anyone and everyone from their comfortable Scottish perches and march on Westminster mob-handed. Plus we’ve had the rise of Corbyn man, the race for the US Presidential election is coming to the boil with one man hoping to play his “Trump” card in due course and where would we be without the Greeks and their debt pile to mock?
So it came to pass that Yellow, from Coldplay, was neatly turned into a homage to the SNP’s stunning electoral success, Cliff Richard’s Living Doll became a lament for the inaccuracy of election exit polls and Ed Miliband’s troubles were stingingly highlighted through Chris de Burgh’s Lady in Red. And you know Nicola Sturgeon’s stilettos? Well, hum the chorus from O Sole Mio and see if you can come up with the same hilarious lyrics as this duet did.
Pausing only to lament the passing of Jeremy Clarkson using a well-known Monkees track, we moved via an Abba tribute to Alec Salmond to the evening’s grand finale, a medley dedicated to the marvellous things Donald Trump has inflicted on the Scottish environment – think Nellie the Elephant and Donald, Where’s Your Troosers.
The secret of Playing Politics’ success is that they’ve an encyclopaedic knowledge of tunes that might be susceptible to adaptation for parodying purposes. And they’ve an acute sense of the couplet will raise a smile, and that which will provoke a cry of laughter and spontaneous applause from the audience. Some of their ideas they’ve developed into full blown songs, others run for just a verse. And if this year’s effort had the look and feel that it was pulled together at the last minute, it didn’t detract from the overall enjoyment of the evening. It was, I suppose, like the extended version of HIGNFY that the BBC airs each week – the one with the bloopers in it – which is often funnier than the polished, shorter version.
Highly recommended for anyone with the slightest interest in poking fun at those in authority but there are just two more shows on 27th and 28th.