Last Thursday saw most of us voting in the UK General Election and with tensions rising a piece of satirical fringe theatre was very much welcome for us #LDNTheatreBloggers!
While we’re hearing a lot about the politics in the UK, London Theatre Workshop’s Vote For Me gave us a taste of the political approach across the pond in a US election, while also providing some humour in regards to politics that we have certainly been lacking at the moment.
First of all I have to say just how lovely it felt to be back in a fringe venue, sadly I can’t even remember the last time I was able to see a piece of fringe theatre! London Theatre Workshop is situated above the Eel Brook Public House just a short walk from Fulham Broadway station, and from the moment I walked in I placed it high on my list of favoured pub/theatre venues. I loved it!
In my vlog of the day I mentioned how much I’d wanted to visit this venue for a while now so I was thrilled to see in person just how lovely it was (I’ve heard the food is fantastic too, so that warrants another visit!).
Naturally we had a drink or two before the show, and the team at Eel Brook were so kind and accommodating. Along with our tickets we received the programme for the show (which I thought was brilliant – an American Passport as a programme!) and also two pieces of coloured card, one red and one blue. Now at this point I was very intrigued. I’d heard a bit about the audience participation in this show in terms of the actual voting but wasn’t sure exactly how they’d do it so this piqued my interest! We then headed upstairs to the theatre space, a modest and comfortable fringe space which I imagine could work well for many small performances. Now finally, onto the show! I hadn’t looked into this show before seeing it as I wanted to be surprised by it, and surprised I certainly was!
The cast of Vote For Me comprised of six hilarious and strong characters including the two candidates fighting for presidency Janet Tilghman played by Emily Lynne and Buddy Rounsaville played by Hans Rye. They both played off each other’s humour fantastically, with hilarious musical numbers such as Middle East Disney and Am I Nervous?. Their equally hilarious partners, Roger Tilghman (Arvid Larsen) and Amy Rounsaville (Jennie Jacobs) also had their own standout moments including the very demanding Amy asking Buddy Why Aren’t You President, Yet?.
Joe Leather acted as the Advisor to both candidates with an air horn he certainly wasn’t afraid to use and a folder full of all the right things that Buddy needed to say. last but not least Lucy Grainger played Robyn Fielder, the moderator to the presidential debate who by the end of the show was incredibly tired of both candidates attitudes, and decided that even she could make a better president! I have to say as well just how impressed I was by Lucy’s ability to memorise countries in the song VOTE! (For Me) where she lists in disbelief how low the United Stands lands in the list of countries voters.
Audience interaction was key to the ending of the show as the audience decided who would be President, and by one tense vote, Janet won! It was really fun to be involved in the show this way and brilliant to know the cast had three different endings rehearsed just in case.
Vote For Me had us all laughing (I was almost in tears laughing) with it’s tongue in cheek and we were thoroughly entertained, with this intimate fringe venue you couldn’t be closer to all the action. The whole cast were incredibly talented with fantastic voices and perfect comedic timing! There were homages to other well known musicals in moments of the choreography, and numbers full of tap-dancing, costume changes, props and all sorts – oh the beauty of fringe! I loved the quick wit of the show and the catchy songs, and I’m looking forward to hearing more of the work of Scott Elmegreen and Drew Fornarola at their concert this coming Sunday.
We were lucky enough to be part of a post-show Q&A too where the cast and crew answered questions about the show, asked us whether we had voted and also treated us to doughnuts and snacks – what a way to win over the heart of any blogger!
Vote For Me is showing at London Theatre Workshop until May 23rd, more information and tickets can be found at http://londontheatreworkshop.co.uk/vote-for-me/