Margaret Thatcher Queen Of Soho (Theatre503)
A new comedy about the late Iron Lady proves spectacularly funny and wonderfully camp
A drag comedy cabaret Christmas spectacular starring none other than the recently deceased Margaret Thatcher, you say? Well, why the ruddy heck not!
From the history of a rather unlikely stage heroine, excellent comic writer Jon Brittain and actor Matthew Tedford have created a spectacularly funny, wonderfully camp play, full of historical accuracy – and inaccuracy – as well as an uncanny impression of the Iron Lady herself (Tedford again).
Based on a joyous and exhilarating ten-minute short for Theatre503's #thatcherwrite night earlier in the year, the duo have fleshed the story out into a 70-minute extravaganza, focusing on the night before the odious Section 28 was debated in parliament in the '80s. While devious Jill Knight (a suitably creepy Robert Cawsey) tries to get the legislation passed, Maggie finds herself accidentally veering into Soho, where the people she encounters may change her life forever…
You really can go into this one with minimal background knowledge and still enjoy everything from deliberately crap backing dancers to a super-sexy Peter Tatchell (Ed Yelland, proving extremely versatile in just one of his many roles), alongside unique, Shatner-esque renditions of popular songs both modern and vintage. There's glitter, streamers and Mary Poppins references, while Thatcher becomes an almost sympathetic figure as she struggles to decide the right path to take in her life.
As the lady herself ("they gave me poppers for my headache"), Tedford is sensational; sparky, subtle and utterly overblown, all at the same time. He's great at asides to the audience ("that's just an example of one of the many witty off-the-cuff things I'd say all the time") and he knows how to work one, too. His impersonation is worryingly good – and the piece is made not by the script but by the nuance he brings with each cock of the head, twist of the wrist or incline of the head.
Pure hilarity. Don't miss it.