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Fringe review: Trumpageddon

Adelaide Fringe

Impersonating a man as mockable as American President Donald Trump should be a straightforward task, but Simon Jay’s satirical show Trumpageddon leaves an uneasy feeling, writes reviewer Stephanie Richards. ★★★

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According to the Trumpageddon program listing, British comedian Simon Jay’s show is as “disturbed” as Trump, and I have to agree.

Slathered in fluorescent orange face paint and sporting slicked-back yellow hair, Jay looks the part. The show starts with Trump delivering a presentation at a presidential rally. With his personal assistant Lara by his side, he blunders through a series of tasks, ultimately exposing his incompetence as President.

Some clever one-liners at the beginning of Trumpageddon leave the audience hopeful, as does an early segment in which we’re invited to guess whether a series of tweets were penned by the notoriously Twitter-crazy President or other celebrities. Jay has clearly done his research on the President, and his quick quips are for the most part amusing and in-character. Unfortunately, as the show progresses, the appeal wanes.

The American President has often been described as a repellent guy, and to his credit, Jay does a fantastic job of translating that skin-crawling sensation on stage. The problem is, he does it too well and audiences are left almost recoiling at the barrage of racist, homophobic and sexist commentary.

Crude and offensive remarks about Australia’s Indigenous people leave a bad taste, as do constant remarks about female audience members’ physical attractiveness.

The show ultimately left me questioning my sense of humour. Is Jay’s satirical impersonation really offensive or am I being too sensitive to political correctness? Although at times highly exaggerated, Jay’s impersonation of Trump is in keeping with the President’s apparent character. So perhaps the problem is not his delivery, but that the man he’s impersonating induces such a feeling of unease and apprehension that his position as President of the United States is no longer a laughable matter.

For a show produced by Olivier Award nominee James Seabright, I was expecting a bit more. Nonetheless, if you can cope with the offensive nature of the material, Trumpageddon may still give you a laugh.

Trumpageddon is showing at the Garden of Unearthly Delights until March 18.

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