Morale is High (Since We Gave Up Hope)
- Gareth K Vile
- 15 August 2017
Political panic shouts and then defeats itself
In the self-consciously listless finale to this show, Powder Keg reveal both the anxiety of contemporary protest and the limitations of their theatrical ambitions. Another late-night show with a rowdy audience, it alternates between satirical punk songs and scenes from the near future, dealing with the increasing power of the British right. From racism in local pubs to the incoherence of Conservative rhetoric, Powder Keg recognise and attack the austerity atmosphere, but honestly admit their lack of a solution.
The individual scenes deal effectively with a range of problems: political protests become a nice day out, with the usual suspects giving the usual speeches; the Tory party remains in power, despite lacking any substance or ideals; poverty makes the sensational headlines but nothing is ever done to combat it; leftist activists can't imagine any meaningful alternatives. The show is buoyed by the two performers' restless energy and the righteousness of their message: they rock and rave and reveal their own insecurities beautifully.
If the finale attempts to comment on the contradictions of preaching to the converted without any strategy for change, it doesn't quite redeem the shortcoming itself. Full of energy, un-channelled anger and accurately depicting the impasse of British politics, Morale is High still doesn't rise above the anxiety it depicts.
Summerhall, until 20 Aug (not 16), 10.15pm, £12 (£10).