Boris: World King at Trafalgar Studios
Following a sell-out run at last year’s Edinburgh Fringe Festival, Boris: World King is transferring to the West End’s Trafalgar Studios just in time for the upcoming mayoral elections. Penned by Tom Crawshaw and directed by Yaz Al-Shaater, the play stars David Bensen as Boris and newcomer Alice McCarthy as Boris’ long-suffering assistant.
The setup is this: Boris, knowing his time as London’s Mayor is almost up, decides to write, produce and star in his own West End show. Armed with Boris bikes, a wheel and Helen, he begins with the intent to walk us through his bizarrely successful life and draw comparisons with the Greek and Roman gods of old. Of course, being Boris Johnson, he keeps messing up, stumbling over, breaking props and there is the matter of a major publicity crisis that keeps intruding (right in the middle of a game of wiff-waff, if you can believe it!).
Bensen makes an excellent Boris, capturing his oafishness and his inherent oddness. At first, the jokes are gentle, centred mostly on Boris’ less damaging buffoonery and the kind of nonsense rich boys get up to at Eton, but it soon begins to tackle the more serious stuff with biting satire. Johnson’s womanising ways (demonstrated on unsuspecting audience members), his lack of forethought and the frightening fact that people seem to keep putting him in charge of things he has no idea how to run are all examined to varying degrees of hilarity. Underneath the humour and slapstick, though, are some very real criticisms about the world and a society that has allowed a man such as Boris into such positions of power (though the play has its own rather divine suggestion for exactly what is going on there.)
Photos: Richard Davenport
Boris: World King is on at Trafalgar Studios from 21st April until 14th May 2016. Buy your tickets here.