Normally Brexit is the kind of topic that gets you into arguments with internet strangers. When Lolly Jones tackles the political issue of our times, however, you get hot under the collar for a very different reason. The hottest takes on politics come flying thick and fast in this burlesque extravaganza, led by the ingenious Jones and supported by her two dancers.
A follow up to 2018’s Fifty Shades of May, characters under the spotlight range from Theresa May to Nicola Sturgeon and a chain-smoking, femme fatale image of Marine Le Pen. Best of all though are the moments where Jones captures that most difficult of people – her own mother Babs, who embodies the confused tiredness of those just fed up of the Brexit palaver. Jones’ lip sync skills are immense, matching on to the voice recordings uncannily well. All the performances are geared towards glorious mockery. Every character that Jones and her backing dancers take on is meant for pure laughs, with the odd moment of thought thanks to well edited voice-over reels.
The show can sometimes feel a tad clunky. The length of time between Jones’ costume changes feel too long. This can’t really be helped with the show in this format, but it leaves the backing dancers jigging around on the stage to kill time. They are good at what they do, but it doesn’t drive the show on. Getting them to take on more characters – as they so capably do, in the case of Farage and May’s husband – would make things slicker.
Some of the impressions also vary in quality. Angela Merkel gets laughs in the beginning and then never gets the same rise from the crowd afterwards, while the Farage and Trump impressions slightly underwhelm. There is an awkwardness to their dance moves that fits the characters but runs close to losing the party atmosphere. The result is that I Believe in Merkels can be thunderous, raunchy fun, but comes off the gas a bit too often.
Jones and her act are brilliant entertainers, with such a steamy show that Ed Miliband would be left gawking in embarrassment. Yet it never rolls along like a well oiled machine. Instead, it is a patchwork affair where the loudest, proudest moments just about make up for the dips.