Having taken on Soho and found herself extremely comfortable, Margaret Thatcher is back, this time striving to become the Queen of Saturday Night Entertainment. Hitting on the genius idea of making the audience compete for their own benefits (which, in the current climate, at least one Tory cabinet minister has probably suggested), this is glamorous, biting satire – just.
The games are excellent – simple, brutal, delightfully ripped-off and covered in glitter. It’s hard to pick the best of the bunch – a top down re-organisation of the NHS (represented by Jenga), the completion of Article 50 via assault course, or the do-it-yourself newspaper headlines (points added for salaciousness, detracted for factual accuracy). Matthew Tedford, as Thatcher, is relentlessly imperious and condescending to the audience, which goes down delightfully, as do the punishments from the Wheel of Misfortune. There are plenty of glitzy song and dance numbers to punctuate proceedings, ably backed by Tory dancing boys Gove and Osborne (with, it must be added, beautifully atmospheric lighting), as well as a series of increasingly inappropriate series of catch phrases.
Though this is essentially a huge send-up of the Iron Lady, there are plenty of swipes delivered at left and right. There’s a particularly great celebration of the slavish devotion that Corbyn inspires (“have you heard the good news? From JC?”), complete with dancing Biblical robes. Tedford frequently condemns Thatcher from her own mouth, at one point listing some of her more uncomfortable personal friendships (with Pinochet and Savile, the latter getting the far worse reception). It must be said though, that this performance of Mrs T is such a compelling, magnetic character, who, naturally, gets all the best lines, that she does rather steal the show, and much of the argument. Any left-wing figures brought on for mocking (such as a puppet Nicola Sturgeon) are at an inherent disadvantage.
But the aim, ultimately, despite the points being made, is for everyone to have an extremely good time – a promise that, unlike so many in politics, is gloriously achieved.