Jon Brittain and Matt Tedford on MARGARET THATCHER QUEEN OF GAMESHOWS
BWW speaks to Jon Brittain and Matt Tedford about bringing their 5 star (BroadwayWorld review) sellout show Margaret Thatcher Queen of Gameshows to the Underbelly festival from May 12th-13th and June 28th-July 2nd.
What brought Maggie to host her own game show?
Jon: Well, in the show it's because Theresa May wants to make more cuts and asks Mrs Thatcher, who in the world of the show is a global cabaret superstar, if she can come up with an arbitrary way of deciding who gets benefits and who doesn't. So Maggie makes a game show where people compete for their Jobseeker's Allowance - in the form of a fabulous golden giro cheque!
Matt: In reality, it's because we didn't want to repeat ourselves. The first show had more of a cabaret sort of vibe, and we wanted to change it up. Jon and I are big fans of tacky 80s and 90s game shows and we thought re-casting Maggie as a Bruce Forsyth/Cilla Black style figure would be really funny. It gives the show a whole new genre to make jokes about and also allows me to talk to members of the general public - something Theresa May seems to be incapable of.
Jon: Also, as the first was set in the past and this one is set in the present, it gave us a great framework in which to talk about what's going on in Britain today. Its a much more overtly political show than the last. In that one, the satire was offset by the fact that at least the horrible thing we were criticising happened 30 years ago. In this one it's like, "Guys, seriously! This is happening right now!" I think it's angrier. Although we hide that anger beneath innuendo and Dolly Parton songs.
What exciting game show elements can audiences expect?
Jon: What can you NOT expect. I think we've covered all the big ones apart from Big Break and that's just because it would be impractical to tour with a snooker table.
Matt: We've got games like Check Your Privilege, which is like Play Your Cards Right but contestants have to guess whether the person on the next card has more or less privilege - higher or lower? We've got a Wheel Of Misfortune which we use to decide how to punish people who've lost a game. And best of all we've got catchphrases - "The lady's not for turning, for turning the lady's...?"
Are you having fun with all of your rewrites..?
Matt: SO much fun. Urgh.
Jon: The rewrites for this time aren't too bad. We've just added a load of references to the election like changing the names of the backing dancers to Strong and Stable. I think we're both a little concerned about what we will have to do after the election. Personally, I would really like a progressive alliance to sweep to victory, but in terms of having to rewrite the show, it would be a complete nightmare.
Matt: That's why he's voting Tory.
Jon: For the record, I am not.
How was your Edinburgh festival experience last year?
Jon: I had a great time. I spent nearly the whole time in London. It was lovely.
Matt: It was very stressful. Brexit happened the week before we started rehearsals. And then it carried on happening!
Jon: We were rewriting the show overnight and rehearsing it during the day. Sometimes we would have to throw out entire bits because they were no longer topical - after less than 24 hours!
Matt: But once we were up there it was lovely. The show did really well and audiences were really up for what we were trying to do.
Jon: Our big goal was just to make a show that lived up to the first one. And I think we just about managed it. But it would have been nice to have had more sleep.
What else are you two working on?
Jon: My play Rotterdam is going to New York and then transferring back to the West End which is very exciting.
Matt: It's his little side project when he's not working on the more important Maggie work.
Jon: And then we're both taking the game show back to Edinburgh again.
Matt: Unless Corbyn wins
Jon: Yes, if he wins we'll both be having a nervous breakdown.
Matt: Vote Tory!
Jon: Don't vote Tory.
Who would you recommend comes to see Maggie Thatcher Queen of Game Shows?
Jon: Theresa May.
Matt: The Head of Commissioning for BBC Light Entertainment.
Ticket information for Margaret Thatcher Queen of Gameshows is available on the Underbelly website.
Rotterdam is playing at the Arts Theatre from Wednesday 21st June until Saturday 15th July 2017. Tickets available from: https://artstheatrewestend.co.uk/