There is much anticipation in the room as Trump, Putin and Kim Jong-Un step onto the stage. In fact, these are members of the Falkirk-based, Beldon Haigh band, wearing incredibly life-like, full head-covering masks. These masks have been created by sculptor Landon Meier who is more well-known for his trademark “evil baby” figure, a sinister exemplar of which is playing keyboards. These ingenious masks hint at great things to follow, but visually promise more than the ensuing music and sparse political chat deliver.
Obscure rock numbers lack the advertised satirical twists. Well, they might be there, but the vocals are hard to hear, as the guitars and drums largely drown out the diction of the lead singer, the eponymous Beldon Haigh. The lyrics of a couple of choruses are changed and at one point the audience is implored to chant “Traitor Trump” – such is the limit of the political commentary – with scant reference to the other two leaders represented.
The band play a lot of their own compositions, all of which are fairly unmemorable and lack originality and whilst the singing and playing is competent, it is unremarkable. Two glamorous backing singers repetitively move like automata in a Robert Palmer video (or are they crushing grapes?)
The final two numbers, covers by Bowie and Sinatra respectively, are by far the best in the show, as they introduce some musical variety and offer a glaring comparison to some of the previous material. Sinatra’s refrain of That’s Life is changed to That’s Lying in a pretty weak Trump allusion. However it is too little, too late, as by this time, many of the punters have left.
A little more imagination is required to fire up an Edinburgh Fringe audience, begging the question whether this is the right time and place for the show. Publicised as a musical extravaganza of satire, parody and protest, Beldon Haigh and the Mother of All Bands fails to deliver on all fronts.