Burlesque’s satirical pedigree sometimes gets forgotten in its revived modern form, with its focus on the stripteasier elements and its role in encouraging body positivity. Not so in Lolly Jones‘ bawdy hour in which Theresa May and female political rivals get raucously parodied.
Jones, in various states of dress and undress, mimes along to our strong and stable leader’s wobbly political oratory while mum-dancing and twerking with two dancing “girls” (two lithe chaps in gold hot pants). Once you’ve adjusted to the fact that this is visual impersonation only, and that May et. al’s dreary politicking are going to be the only voices you hear, it’s rollicking fun.
In truth, the miming has limited comedy value after a while, aside from drawing attention to the banality and self-justifying quality of much political rhetoric, but is an excellent jumping off point for some silly dancing and visual humour.
A video cameo by Liam Hourican (Tracey Breaks The News) as an oily, S&M fixated Jacob Rees-Mogg provides excellent cover for costume changes. His creepily-toned instructions to May, backed to a soundtrack of whip-cracks and yelps of pain/pleasure, make you want to reach for the nearest antiseptic handwash.
We’re running through several years of recent history here, and the costume changes bring in some other political characters. Angela Eagle is a left-field as well as (centre-)left-wing choice, whose relative lower profile make her the least successful of Jones’ incarnations. Arlene Foster firing rolls of cash out into the audience while Jones’ mimes her stern Northern Irish tones is very good, while a fan-dancing Nicola Sturgeon, whose nipple pasties naturally read “Yes!”, is a highlight. It’s a refreshing change to see her characterised as flirty and playful, rather than the Janette Krankie uber-Jock of stereotype.
The final moments are left to May though, who having thrashed herself silly with the wheat she naughtily ran through, is leather-clad for a big finale. It’s perhaps not the most vicious or telling satire of our leading female politicans, but it’s a proper hoot.