Monday 11 May 2015

Vote For Me: A Musical Debate @ The London Theatre Workshop

Vote For Me: A Musical Debate The London Theatre Workshop

You're probably sick of election fever by now. The last thing you'll want to see is a musical about politics.

However, this is fun. Really fun. And it even has a fair voting system.

For starters, it's a great concept. Vote For Me lampoons American politics by pitting two fictional presidential candidates against one another in a 'live' debate - Republican Buddy Rounsaville (Hans Rye) and Democrat Janet Tilghman (Emily Lynne). But is either really capable of becoming President? Under the questions of presenter Robyn Fiedler (Lucy Grainger) they appear to have all the answers, yet beneath the surface they both have a very different agenda. It's through songs and asides that we see the real people behind the mask of politics, under the coaching of their Advisor (Joe Leather) and their respective partners. At the end, it's the audience who get to decide the outcome in a fun bit of interactivity. Make sure you concentrate.

This is far from a serious debate though. Sure, it might oversimplify the issues at hand but for anyone whose knowledge of US politics stems mainly from House of Cards that could be welcome. The colourful set immediately establishes the cartoon style, whilst the comedy music hilariously satirises the likes of climate change, terrorism, and the economy. Once the cast are singing about a Middle East Disney and performing a tap dance to encourage us to spend more money to save the economy, you'll be laughing too much to care that their policies make little sense - though there is truth at the core of the show's narrative.

The vibrant style extends to the performances. As Tilghman, Lynne is a joy to watch: a bombastic figure with a fierce feminist agenda and an emasculated husband (Arvid Larsen). Rye's gormless Rounsaville is whipped into shape by his wife (Jennie Jacobs), able to amusingly let loose in "I Know This One". Together, the central pair are hugely charismatic potential leaders with strong vocals. Lucy Grainger is also excellent as debate presenter Robyn, coping well with some extremely wordy material.

Vote For Me is an extremely polished show for a fringe musical, with slick choreography and comedic direction that makes great use of minimal space. It also manages to make a political point whilst remaining fun to watch and without outstaying its welcome.


Watch: Vote For Me runs at the London Theatre Workshop until 23rd May.