Since this was first devised, the events surrounding the European migrant crisis—from stranded Mediterranean boat people, “breaches” at EuroTunnel and islands in Greece inundated with refugees—have taken a completely different and tragic turn. More than this, Nigel Farage is yesterday’s man par excellence making UKIP! The Musical (though it’s more of a revue) look a little out of step and dated.
This is the story of “spiv and snake oil salesman” Farage, an utterly divisive character from this year’s election. Convinced that if you speak from the heart people will listen, this Nigel (played here with none of the fruity vowels of the real thing) wins the general election to become Prime Minister. In doing so he has guiding spirits in the form of Churchill and Thatcher, the ghosts of times past. Sometimes the political characterisations veer dangerously towards the undergraduate, yet for all that, it’s played with enormous gusto and the entire company sings and dances illustrating Nigel’s fictional rise and fall.
As PM he realises that his followers don’t merely want to sever from Europe but insist on mass deportations. Things are relentlessly hammered home (no one can call this subtle political satire) even if some of UKIP’s more rabid pronouncements are buried amid the candyfloss. Often the message hits the nail squarely on the head. At one point Farage is advised, ‘you can be as candid as you like because you have nothing to lose’: well, except any shred of credibility. And so it has come to pass.