A clever pun and unsubtle hint at Tony Blair’s lasting impact on British politics, the title of comedian Matt Forde’s show lets the audience know what they are getting into before Forde himself greets his audience, regretfully stating that“we meet in diabolical circumstances”.
However, through an evening of meticulously curated impressions ranging from Boris Johnson to Rory Stewart, Brexit: Pursued By A Bear is an hour of thoroughly enjoyable satire that is equally scathing of all political parties. Of course, the show begins with Boris Johnson, and turns quickly to some of our Prime Minister’s more damning remarks, such as his famously bizarre statement that Muslim women wearing the niqab look like ‘’letterboxes’’. Forde continues to deftly navigate the tricky waters that are racist remarks made by British politicians, with a mordancy that exposes the base level of ignorance in British politics triumphantly.
With a frenetically on-pat impersonation of Mr. Johnson, complete with Latin proverbs, Forde absolves some of the terror from the clamant state of affairs in which we find ourselves: how could one make light of racism in the Labour Party, the threat of a recession more severe than 2008, and the reality of a future marked by permanently gridlocked traffic? Granted, Forde never attempts to offer a solution, but turns his hand at finding the humour in MP Angela Smith’s description of BAME citizens as having a “funny tinge”.
Admirably, Forde does not shy away from outlining some of the more sublime points of the SNP’S drive for independence, a brave venture for an English comedian in the Scottish capital. Shrewdly, he observes that they have been hankering for liberation under a range of radically different governments; from Blair to Brown to Cameron and through Brexit – a sort of “one size fits all” solution, “regardless of the ailment”. Really, the only criticism of this particular characterization would be his slightly off-pitch Scottish accent.
The main highlight of Forde’s show, though, is his skit on Donald Trump and Boris Johnson’s burgeoning friendship. Forde goes on to question their first press conference together, which risks putting a spanner in the works, as undoubtedly the first question will be about Johnson’s previous comments about Trump being ‘’unfit’’ for presidency. Complete with a litany of Trump’s notorious finger-and-thumb circles, he gives ‘The Donald’ new life.
Amidst the laughs from the audience there is a sense of solidarity, as Forde makes Parliament his observational comedy. Admittedly, when pointing out the pitfalls of the 3- point Irish border plan, he does not have to do much. After all, the points “all contradict each other. It’s like asking for a pet that barks, wears feathers and is a cat.”
Overall, Matt Forde brings a fresh verve to a subject matter that many satirists feel has reached its cultural expiration date. It is impossible to be too downtrodden at a show where elderly audience members wear stickers emblazoned with the slogan “Bollocks to Brexit”. Although at times expectedly predictable, Forde gives a brilliant take on Britain’s Achilles heel.
Matt Forde: Brexit, Pursued by a Bear is on at Pleasance Courtyard – Forth
At 20:30 until 25th August
Book tickets here
Image: Pleasance Press Office