Image above: Boris Live at Riverside Studios, 30 July
New theatre production introducing Boris the chat show host
The timing of last week’s drama in Downing St could not be better for writer Jonathan Maitland, creator of a new satirical show about Boris Johnson which premieres at Riverside Studios on 30 July.
Following on from his successful play The Last Temptation of Boris Johnson, the new production is a one man show with the same actor, Will Barton, as Boris.
On for just one performance in London before transferring to the Edinburgh Festival, the show has evolved quite a bit over the past few days, as you might imagine, but, says Jonathan Maitland, he has been constantly rewriting it since January (Owen Paterson – remember him?)
“Originally we were thinking of taking The Last Temptation of Boris Johnson to Edinburgh, but it’s too expensive and people would want to hear about the recent scandals” says Jonathan.
Image above: Will Barton, as Boris in The Last Temptation of Boris Johnson
The first leg of Boris Johnson’s comeback tour
The Last Temptation of Boris Johnson won four star reviews from the Times and the Daily Mail and a five star review from the New European when it opened in May 2019 at the Park theatre in Finsbury Park and subsequently went on to tour the UK. It dealt with the infamous dinner party in 2016 at which Boris was weighing up whether or not to support Brexit.
“It predicted he would become Prime Minister” Jonathan Maitland says proudly, “and that he would only last three years in the job and that he would be sunk by a scandal.”
Boris Live was initially conceived as a Question Time with the audience.
“We envisaged it as the PM going to Scotland to shore up the vote, with him saying things that are guaranteed to wind up an audience which already hates him by referring to the Scots as ‘Scotch’ and to Billy Connelly as ‘the big Yid’.
“It has now morphed into the fist leg of his comeback tour. This is him launching his new career as a chat show host.”
Maitland has used the device of CCTV back stage to show the audience Boris’s duplicity. He goes back stage three times during the performance, each time behaving in a way he would not want the audience to witness and coming back on stage unaware he has been seen.
Will Barton won praise for his portrayal of Boris in the earlier play. He is not fat enough to truly inhabit Boris, but his resemblance was uncanny, mainly down to the vocal mannerisms and the hair tousling.
You can book tickets to see Boris Live at Riverside Studios, Hammersmith here: riversidestudios.co.uk
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See also: Boris’s legacy – Peter Oborne
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