I have been away from the theatre for a while due to a lot of Shakespeare research, but I am happy to be back! Thanks to the lovely Rebecca at officialtheatre.com, I had a great time with the #LDNTheatreBloggers watching the London Theatre Workshop‘s new show Vote For Me. The recent political atmosphere in Britain has inspired the London theatre scene with election-related shows, and Vote For Me is one of them. However seeing a satirical American political musical on May 7th was very refreshing, and did take my mind off of Britain’s impending doom.
The play follows Senators Janet Tilghman (Emily Lynne) and Buddy Rounsaville (Hans Rye) as they battle it out to win the American presidential election. Writers Scott Elmegreen and Drew Fornarola have successfully created a brilliant set of songs which combine comedy and satire. My favourite was the Middle East Disney number, performed brilliantly by Lynne, complete with Minnie Mouse ears and skirt. Dom O’Hanlon’s direction allows the team to switch from a jazzy tap-dance sequence, full of umbrellas and glittery hats, to rock tunes with headbanging. It’s the energy of this piece which makes its so fun and enjoyable to watch.
The cast are absolutely fantastic. In particular Rye’s Buddy Rounsaville, the slightly stupid yet loveable candidate, was great. Rye manages to make the audience root for the character, even though he may not be the most obvious choice for president. Lucy Grainger as Robyn Fieldler, the host of the debate, manages to command the stage and keep the other characters in line. I loved her performance of the song VOTE! (for me), where she lists a huge number of counties without missing a beat. Props to her for making that look so effortless. I would have crumbled after the first 20.
The added decisive element of this show makes it more engaging. In the end, the audience have to decide who will win the election. Speaking during the Q&A session at the end of the show, O’Hanlon said “80% of the time Janet wins and 20% of the time Buddy wins”. The evening I saw it, it was a very close call, with only one vote ensuring a female president. Whichever way it goes though, the team are prepared with a fantastic final number sung by the winner.
Based just above the Eel Brook Pub in the posh part of London, a lovely fringe venue, the London Theatre Workshop have created an extremely enjoyable and topical musical. This show shines a light on just how ridiculous and theatrical elections really are, whichever side of the pond they’re on. Vote For Me is great fun and absolutely hilarious, I highly recommend it.