The current president of the United States is a man who is consigned throughout the Fringe to a never-ending tirade of caricature and mockery. There are many shows that are specifically about Donald Trump, and many more in which he appears in one way or another. Trumpus Interruptus is one of the former. Set in 2019, it tracks Trump and his closest allies as he is impeached following one-too-many ‘moments’ involving Russian Premier Vladimir Putin.
Disappointingly, however, there is no impeachment, even though this is what the show is about. The audience sees everything leading up to his ejection from office, and knows why this happens, but the actual moment where Mike Pence and Paul Ryan get to throw him out of the door is a glaring absence from the story. Buying a ticket for a show about the impeachment of Donald Trump in which there is no impeachment has got to be the worst trade deal in the history of trade deals. Maybe ever.
It is also a shame to see the focus being squarely on one facet of the president: the Trump-Putin ‘bromance’, as it is portrayed on the stage. Prominent White House sackings barely feature and there is the inescapable feeling that Hill. When other issues too briefly appear, they are separated from and contribute nothing to the main plotline, as if they were afterthoughts, written down long after the script had been finalised. When so much has happened over the last twelve months, those watching cannot help but feel that the show could be taken in many more directions.
Trumpus Interruptus has its limitations for sure. However, it does its best within these limits. The suggestions of homoeroticism in Trump and Putin’s friendship never stops being funny, while Jared Kushner and Mike Pence (among others) also get some time to steal the limelight. The actor does very well to swap between the different personas, changing little more than his costume and voice. It is credit to his abilities that you almost know who he is going to be next before the audience is actually told. They even have a Donald Trump hand puppet. That cannot be topped, surely.
By far the funniest moment in the play –one which should have appeared more often – was the one scene involving the Donald and his wife Melania. There are no words shared between the two. It feels like watching Mr Bean because of the scarce dialogue. The comedy here is entirely based in the movement and implied relationship between the two; a move on her there, a tweet there, and so it goes on. The result is that the audience did not stop laughing the whole time, from the moment that Melania walks onto the stage. This is the richest moment of comedy gold in Trumpus Interruptus, beyond any doubt.
It is a flawed show for sure, and there may well be better Trump-related shows in Edinburgh this August, but equally it is an incredibly hard show to dislike. It is far more than a cash-in on recent political events. Rather, it is two very talented performers putting their own satirical spin on the man who had a Diet Coke button installed in his desk in the oval office (look it up), and the circle of people who, at least in the show, ultimately contribute to his downfall.
Greenside at Infirmary Street (Venue 236)
Until 12th August
Photo credit: Gage Skidmore