Kingmaker (4 stars)

Sharp political satire from Coalition writers at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe


This article is from 2014.


‘Max Newman is a joke’, we're told, ‘but a joke that happens not to be funny’. Fortunately, the same cannot be said for Alan Cox who plays Newman, a thinly veiled representation of a certain London Mayor, who stands to become Prime Minister. From the moment Cox bumbles on stage, complaining of a small SNAFU at security involving a potentially lethal hair comb, he does the sharply satirical writing justice. From his haughty harrumphing to his bombastic blasting of his own political inefficiencies, Cox executes the character’s essence perfectly.

Set to derail Newman’s ambitions is Eleanor Hopkirk MP, (Joanna Bending) via the ambitious Dan Regan (Laurence Dobiesz). Bending’s performance is at first slightly stilted, but as her character attempts to control Regan, whose naivety and quiet ambition is well-captured by Dobiesz, she establishes herself as a strong opponent for Cox’s absurd yet endearingly cut power figure.

This is a funny, enjoyable study of how politics is sometimes less about the issues than it is the larger-than-life personalities and their electable foibles.

Pleasance Courtyard, 556 6550, until 25 Aug (not 11), 3pm, £12-£14 (£11-£13).

This article is from 2014.


  • 4 stars

The Spontaneity Shop A bumbling, charismatic London Mayor challenges his enemies to become prime minister. But will his comic and colourful past destroy him? A new satire by Robert Khan and Tom Salinsky, writers of 2012 Edinburgh hit Coalition. Starring Alan Cox. Directed by multiple award-winning Hannah Eidinow.


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