Claire Parry seizes the baton with great relish in interactive show Boorish Trumpson at the VAULT Festival
“Hands up if you are in an orchestra”
Who needs Tár? Boorish Trumpson proclaims to be “an interactive, music and clowning-filled interrogation of power and those who wield it” and having sat through a rehearsal session of the London Symphonia Vienetta Orchestra under the chaotic charge of the titular character, it feels like Claire Parry’s show is considerably more effective in the first part of its remit.
As we gather in the “Royal Alfred Hall” rehearsing for the Last Night of the Proms, it soon becomes clear that this is definitely not a show for reluctant wallflowers as it asks for a fair dollop of audience participation from those (un)lucky victims called upon. Whether as the conductor’s assistant, the recipient of lascivious looks and a carhorn to play or the role of first violin, there’s huge amounts of fun to be had in responding to Boorish’s expectations and sometimes hilariously confounding them.
This orchestral cos-play is supplemented with brief flashbacks to Boorish’s childhood, where we can see the roots of some despotic behaviour taking root. And it is tempting to think all of this works well as a study in toxic power in and of itself. Parry also layers in a good deal of UK and US political references, as related to the two failed leaders suggested in the title, and these for me had a more varying degree of success.
In some cases, it can feel a little heavy-handed (for an OK gag, I’d say “Make music great again” is over-used); in others, the chaotic nature of the show as it reaches into the audience means that some jokes were completely lost, especially in the accented delivery. That said, Brexit as carrot cake break was brilliantly done and well-timed as look what is in the bloody headlines again as the Tories continue to bang their heads against the wall, seven years down the line. Perfectly in tune with our times.