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BWW Review: UBU – A SINGALONG SATIRE, Shoreditch Town Hall


BWW Review: UBU – A SINGALONG SATIRE, Shoreditch Town Hall BWW Review: UBU – A SINGALONG SATIRE, Shoreditch Town Hall Welcome to Lovelyville. President Nick Dallas has just been re-elected, and all seems right with the world - until the disruptive force of Mr and Mrs Ubu make their appearance, that is. Completely at odds with the tone of the town from the moment they open their mouths, they are unable to sit back and try to make things work in their current situation. Cue an outrageous assassination attempt and a grab for power in which the crowd is powerless to intervene. Ambitious, cowardly, strange-looking leaders with poor public-speaking skills - haven't we seen this somewhere before..?

Carl Grose has taken Alfred Jarry's Ubu Roi as his inspiration, co-directing Kneehigh's latest extravaganza Ubu - A Singalong Satire - a show that I can best describe as part gig, part theatre, part revolution. Backed by Nandi Bhebhe and the Sweaty Bureaucrats, audience and performers sing, dance and compete together over the course of the evening. It's a truly democratic endeavour, and something theatre-makers shouldn't be afraid of embracing.

At a time where you may be feeling increasingly helpless about the state of the world, there is nothing more satisfying than coming together to ridicule the seemingly unaccountable public figures who hold our lives in the palms of their (tiny) hands. The feeling of unity in the room as you belt out tunes such as "Gold", "(Something Inside) So Strong", and "Eye of the Tiger" is indescribable; there's an horrific dictator doing his worst onstage, yet you're filled with hope.

Katy Owen is on cracking form as the dastardly Mr Ubu, given free rein to be as wild as possible; she's unafraid and completely awe-inspiring in her performance, setting the tone early on with a blast of "Anarchy In The UK". The incomparable Niall Ashdown is with us every step of the way, hosting the show as Jeremy Wardle - and delivering some so-bad-they're-good puns with great panache. Nandi Bhebhe also helps to lead the dissent, battling Ubu with some incredible dance moves, whilst Kyla Goodey's Bobbi opts for melodrama as the president's daughter.

It's quite a long time to be on your feet (there are seating options if you need them), with the show running at around two hours 30 minutes, however there's nothing stopping you from wandering around during the performance and there are two "breathers" where you can have a quick sit down. It's an extremely freeing experience that really adds to the fun and togetherness of the show.

Kneehigh have done something quite remarkable here. It's more than just a night at the theatre; it's challenging, playful, brash, and full of punk spirit. Simply put, it's the best night out in London by miles, and if I could give it more than five stars then I would. An alternative treat in the run-up to Christmas that will leave you shouting for more.

UBU - A Singalong Satire is at Shoreditch Town Hall until 21 December

Picture credit: Steve Tanner

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