Idiots Assemble - Spitting Image Saves the World: Live on Stage

Idiots Assemble - Spitting Image Saves the World: Live on Stage

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Posted 2023-02-17 by dpmfollow

Tue 01 Feb 2022 - Fri 11 Mar 2022

Nearly 40 years after the television series Spitting Image was first created in Birmingham, it is back – on stage at Birmingham Rep. Idiots Assemble - Spitting Image Saves the World: Live on Stage thrusts a host of our much-loved and greatly disliked public figures into the world of satirical puppetry.

There’s a giant jowly and dishonest Boris Johnson, a tiny but feisty Mission Impossible Tom Cruise, an earnest Greta Thunberg, a lovey RuPaul and a publicity-hungry Harry and Meghan – to name just a handful of the myriad figures lampooned in the show.



We’re warned at the beginning that anyone easily offended should leave before curtain-up and there is certainly plenty of traditional Spitting Image nastiness and filth. With talking breasts and giant penises, this is certainly no show to take your kids to – the adult guidance of 16+ has rarely been more apt.

The show perfectly captures the looks, characters and characteristics of the figures being poked fun at and many times the humour is so close to the bone it’s actually cutting it. From television personalities to world leaders, the finger is firmly pointed at their foibles.

This is what people loved about Spitting Image and it is what Idiots Assemble does best. There are some great laugh-out-loud moments and lines – Harry pushing his book at every opportunity, Tom Cruise shouting ‘Show me the Money’, and newscaster Huw Edwards popping up with the headlines.

What works less effectively is the story which gets bogged down in its twists and turns. Many times when an individual scene could fly it becomes cramped by the storyline and the show is at its funniest when it leaves the story behind and just goes for the jugular.

The writing team comprising Al Murray, Matt Forde, original Spitting Image writer Roger Law and Birmingham Rep artistic director Sean Foley were keen to ensure some Brummie angles so manage to slot Yardley MP Jess Phillips and television presenter Alison Hammond into the tale. But it could be argued they miss some tricks by not including various famous Brummie musicians from Black Sabbath or Duran Duran.



The team behind the puppets are magnificent. Head of puppet workshop Lotte Collett and puppet art director Scott Brooker plus a dozen puppeteers bring the characters to life in a way that is hard to believe. Add in a host of voiceover artists including Al Murray, Matt Forde, Josh Berry and Jess Robinson and each character is easily recognisable by their features, speech and movement.

Designed by Alice Power, with costumes by Lizzi Gee, the show is full of imagination. Set within a theatre, it allows for side conversations in the boxes and scene changes behind the curtains.

The writing team are keen to ensure the show remains current throughout its run of more than a month so are watching the news and will update characters and speech according to the most recent headlines.

The amount of work that has gone into Idiots Assemble is itself breathtaking and the show reflects British humour at its driest and most cutting. It will be interesting to see where the show goes from here.

Idiots Assemble – Spitting Image Saves the World: Live on Stage is at The Rep until 11 March, see https://www.birmingham-rep.co.uk for show information and tickets.

#theatre
#comedy
#reviews
#puppets
#television

%wnbirmingham

!date 1/2/2022 -- 11/3/2022
74795 - 2023-02-17 09:24:08

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