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Edinburgh Fringe Review: Macblair


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As a politics student, my attention was definitely piqued at the show description for Macblair. In the year 1994, Macblair and Macbrown meet three journalists who mysteriously announce that Macblair is to become the next Labour Party leader, then Prime Minister, and finally the King of the World.

As the events start to come true and Macblair becomes Labour leader, the three journalists take the audience through the main political events up until the present day, highlighting the part Tony Blair played.

You don’t have to know much about Macbeth to be able to follow this play; just a basic working knowledge of the late nineties and noughties current affairs and the fact that Tony Blair and Gordon Brown had some major arguments over their time in frontline politics. My friends and I appreciated the humour, but we are all fairly keen politicos, so this is a factor to bear in mind.

In Macbeth, the principal character is told a prophecy by three witches who promise he will become King of Scotland. The parallels are fairly obvious; the unswerving ambition to be the best, the desire for power, the mistrust of his friends. The whole play is critical of Macblair’s actions, clearly only focusing on the most controversial moments of his premiership such as the Iraq War, and the audience laughs along at his misfortune.

There are only four actors who switch between roles which adds to the show's simplicity; one journalist also plays Cherie Blair and another Macbrown. Throughout the play, the hacks gradually reveal the UK’s top newspaper headlines on a large whiteboard, from Labour’s landslide victory in 1997 to Iraq War protests, to simply a photo of Jeremy Corbyn at the very end, symbolising the potential failure of Macblair’s vision for his party and his future.

Macblair directed at a very niche group of people. With its simplicity, it will no doubt be easy to follow, but some of the in jokes might appear esoteric. Nevertheless, this is an incredibly enjoyable watch and one of the highlights of the festival so far. 

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