Tony Blair and George Bush are the stars of Alistair Beaton’s new political satire, which creates musical comedy out of current world affairs. Heartbeat’s Jason Durr and CrossroadsStuart Milligan will play the real-life politicians in Follow My Leader, subtitled “Making a Song and Dance About the War on Terror”, which is now confirmed for London’s Hampstead Theatre from 21 April to 15 May 2004, after an initial run at Birmingham Rep from 26 March to 10 April (See News, 18 Dec 2003 & 4 Mar 2004).

Tracing the development of the ‘war on terror’ from 9/11, through the Iraq war to the present day, Follow My Leader find Bush and Blair congratulating themselves on ridding the world of dictatorship, even while their war activates a global clash of cultures.

In addition to Durr (whose stage credits include A Chorus Line and Macbeth) and Milligan (A Prayer for Owen Meany, South Pacific, The Graduate), key real-life figures will be played by Sevan Stephan (Romeo and Juliet, Lautrec) as Clare Short in drag and Peter Polycarpou (Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, The Resistible Rise of Arturo Ui, TV’s Birds of a Feather) as Osama Bin Laden, Comical Ali and God.

Also in the cast are Paul J Medford (EastEnders), Martyn Ellis (Les Miserables, The Lion King), Nicola Hughes (Simply Heavenly, Chicago, Fosse), Giles New (We Will Rock You) and Dawn Hope.

Alistair Beaton is best known to theatregoers for his award-winning satire on New Labour spin, Feelgood, which transferred to the West End after its premiere at Hampstead in 2001. His many other writing credits include Not the Nine O’Clock News, Spitting Image and The Thatcher Papers.

Follow My Leader features music by Richard Blackford. The premiere production is directed by Mark Clements and designed by Philip Witcomb, with lighting by Chris Ellis, choreography by Paul J Medford and musical direction by Mark Clements.

- by Terri Paddock