Edinburgh Fringe 2019
Britain’s leading political comedian once again promises his last show as an EU Citizen (maybe). This is a brutally funny savaging of Brexit and the inadequacies of the politicians that have bought about the mess the country is in.
The blurb for Matt Forde described last year’s show as ‘possibly the best political show on the Fringe’. That is a great accolade to win two years running.
Here we have a savage swipe at the state of the nation, responsibility for which he lays firmly at the door of our politicians. Matt is relentless, in highlighting their inadequacies. As a performer, informer, satirist and commentator this show is par excellence.
He is a brilliant mimic, impressions of Boris Johnson, Donald Trump, Nigel Farage, Gordon Brown, Jeremy Corbyn and even Vince Cable are spot on. Not just for tone of voice and mannerisms but for content. The voices he puts on sound like things they would say. This is in part due to his quoting their own words against them, albeit with some embellishment, it strengthens the force of the satire.
The material itself is littered with facts and figures, and not always the ones you would expect. Matt then rolls this data into savage satirical analysis dripping with cutting humour. He points out that the modern politician doesn’t care about facts, figures or objective analysis. They have no morals, no shame and little integrity. Hardly a spoiler. They discard their previously stated positions like sweet wrappers, and care not when they are quoted back to them. These juxtapositions are brilliantly highlighted and provide fertile ground for his cutting wit.
Facts, figures, events and the impact of Brexit are explained by using analogies. They are well thought out, evocative and appropriate. There is always a danger of using the same comedic device repeatedly, unless it works, as it does in this case.
He uses actual examples to demonstrate that their actions have a very serious impact on those living in the real world. Reflecting how modern politicians get away with this was bought home, when you realised you did know of the events he was speaking about but had discarded them from your mind.
This is not a showcase for Matt’s ability to mimic and imitate the great and the good, it is foremost a comedy show. Humour is at the heart of every element. The audience roll with laughter, the gags are proper gags. Nothing is forced to fit the narrative of the set.
Matt also walks a political tightrope. Apart from almost universal disgust at the state of world politics, his attacks cross party lines. He swipes left, right and centre. The exception appears to be Brexit, his frustration with it seems all to clear, even if it does provide him with such comic fodder.
It would be easy for any audience member to accuse Matt of political bias, each side seeing it from their perspective. In this case this Edinburgh seemed on board with it.
Speaking to several audience members after the show, this was not their first visit to a Matt Forde show, and it is easy to see why they came back. This show is highly recommended, whether you have an interest in politics or not.