I wasn’t sure what to expect of Lou Sanders’ stand up – I’d done a little research of rave reviews of her previous fringe appearances but my white middle aged middle class self was concerned about references to labia and my teenage Marxist feminist self was reveling in thoughts of this comedic confrontation. However, I was truly surprised when the show began and Matt Forde appeared to deliver his Brexit by the Back Door stand-up routine (having swapped time slots with Lou).
Fortunately I am familiar with Matt’s work c/o Dave and as Jon Snow will testify I am not only a keen follower of daily political developments but also I am not beyond hurling a little scathing wit at politicians myself. As a committed Blairite Matt finds himself alone in the political wilderness and this, if tonight’s show is anything to go by, is a good position from which to satirise the current political furor. I say “satirise” but Matt’s show and sense of humour, though insightful, are far less damning and eviscerating than my own views. And in fact Brexit by the Back Door is a collection of observations and insights, from Boris to chimping via Mad Max, presented in a variety of forms from gentle mockery, through disbelief to uncanny impersonations.
The show opened with an acknowledgement that the old political divides no longer stand. No more questions about are you left or right, open or closed, right or wrong as Brexit has reduced us to a choice between sanity and insanity. And to demonstrate this point Matt was particular scathing of my erstwhile MP, vainglorious mayor and self-imploding Foreign Secretary, Boris Johnson and his ineffective colleague, David Davis (the man who thought appearing on the Andrew Marr show accompanied by a sick bucket would reassure us about Brexit – I just want my own bucket). This led to an all encompasing, well-informed and hilarious riff on the absurdity of our Brexit negotiating stance as summarized in Theresa May’s unequivocal and inherently flawed statement “we are leaving the EU, without leaving Europe”.
Unfortunately that leaves us dancing with the devil, Trump, of whom Matt does an excellent impression but the real Beelzebub in Matt’s eyes is dear old Jeremy Corbyn founder member of the IRA (Islington Residents Association) and don’t get him started on the SNP – whose political position he likened to the tobacco industry’s defence of smoking in the ‘70s, led by the renowned tub thumper and star of Russian Television, Alex Salmond. This led to an extensive comedic put down of a range of political characters: Nigel Farage (Trump’s apologist in chief), Vince Cable and Tim Fallon (who talk the talk on Brexit but couldn’t walk the walk to the lobbies when it mattered), Ken Livingstone (sinking in a stinking political quagmire of his own making), George Galloway (like the hat but WTF), and of course everyone’s go to political Lucifer and evil house elf, Vladimir Putin.
This wide-ranging, scoffing romp through the absurdities of Brexit was hugely enjoyed by the audience in spite of the heat and Matt’s occasional pauses to reference ideas on his i-pad. Given his political perceptiveness, comic timing and range of rib tickling comedic skills I would recommend that when he gets to Edinburgh Matt just wings it – after all isn’t that what Brexit is all about? You’ve got to laugh…