Edinburgh Festival Fringe theatre review: Hooray For All Kinds of Things, reviewed by The Scotsman’s David Pollock.
“Political satire is impotent crap,” declares Jon Gnarr, Icelandic character comedian and angry man out to fight back against the self-serving banalities of modern politics. His country’s unlikely role in the 2008 financial crash is well-documented; less so its culture of resistance to going back to the old, pre-crash ways since then. In 2010 Gnarr formed the Best Party – a movement founded on the most spurious and nonsensical manifesto imaginable, on free towels and polar bears and “sustainable transparency” (to break every promise it had made) – and ran for the mayorship of Reykjavik. This is his story.
Played by Glaswegian actor Sandy Nelson with a kind of bright-eyed incredulity, Gnarr’s story is told with support from Rebecca Elsie and Jamie Scott Gordon in ancillary roles, all under the direction of Fringe First winner Gary McNair. The staging is propless and simple, a callback to the origins of the piece on the programme of the high-quality but low-budget A Play, A Pie and A Pint series of lunchtime plays at Glasgow’s Oran Mor. Yet what Hooray For All Kinds of Things (the Best Party’s deliberately vague slogan) obviously lacks in technical complexity, it makes up for in having found a feel-good story for our political times to retell in compelling detail.
“I know I look stupid and act stupid, but don’t let it fool you,” declares Gnarr, “I really am stupid.” He isn’t, though. Or rather, his lack of understanding of political chess belies a far more universal comprehension of the appeal of simple language and honesty to voters. He has five children; he isn’t laughing when he pays his bills. It’s a story which exists at the tense but cathartic point between unlikeliness and inevitability, making the rather lovely point that politics should work less like money and more like art.
Assembly Rooms (Venue 20) until 30 August
Published in The Scotsman on August 2015
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