Bristol Theatre Reviews

Review: Margaret Thatcher Queen of Soho at Tobacco Factory Theatres

Brimming with Pride energy, a banging set list of gay party classics and seemingly as much fun to perform in as to watch, Margaret Thatcher Queen of Soho proper job entertained the packed audience in the Factory Theatre last night.

The show blends cabaret, musical theatre and dare I say it, a hint of pantomime, into one big performance of raucous good fun.

It’s written by Matt Tedford and Jon Brittain. There can be few people like this pair, who are able to create a wry take on Thatcher and Section 28 and have an audience from the LGBT+ community in stitches.

If you’re expecting historical accuracy, you’re not going to find it. The storyline is based on actual events. A good portion of this develops around the real book Jenny Lives with Eric and Martin. And these events did mostly occur in the way presented in the show.

But running in parallel to the truth is satirical development growing into a parallel universe take on events. None of the political characters of the time come away unscathed. Not even Winston Churchill, who despite being dead at the time manages to find his way into the show via a talking portrait. And a most alternative take on the We shall fight on the beaches speech.

Wrapped up in the fun is also joke after joke about the many negative ways her time as Prime Minister impacted upon people. Some come as witty asides, others as blunt as offering up a pint of milk before snatching it away again.

Matt Tedford as well being a co- writer also plays the role of Thatcher. It’s surprising how much Tedford nails it, from costume to accent and mannerisms right down to Maggie’s famous side profile.

Tedford knows how to entertain and work an audience. The acerbic retorts to members of the audience who have strayed slightly too far from the acceptable boundaries of fringe theatre interaction comes with experienced finesse.

Even though Thatcher is given the parody treatment, the political messaging is also clear. If you don’t want Tory, you need to get out and vote.

Margaret Thatcher Queen of Soho might be a parody of the past but it also serves as a timely warning for the future. Banned books and homophobia, as well as all that Tory negativity to anyone who’s not a carbon copy of current Cabinet ministers all feels a little full circle to 2023.

This show contrariwise also serves as a perfect antidote to that and even if you don’t read into it too deeply, what you get is a couple of hours of brilliant entertainment.

Margaret Thatcher Queen of Soho will be at Tobacco Factory Theatres until 23 September 2023

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