If ever a real life icon deserved a drag tribute it has to be the “Wicked Witch of Westminster” herself.
I don’t know why Gillian Anderson was cast as Margaret Thatcher in The Crown when Rupert Everett would have made a far better fist of it.
Margaret Thatcher, Queen of Soho returns to the Fringe for the fifth time and judging by the packed (at least 600 seater) George Square tent, where many of the audience members are clearly too young to have much first-hand memory of the woman herself, our fascination for one of the most divisive politicians in history has far from waned.
The scene is set on the eve of the Section 28 vote where Maggie gets lost in Soho. Can some 80s high camp disco persuade her to support the LGBT side? Is the Lady for turning? Matt Tedford’s performance as Thatcher is a tour de force. Accompanied by her hotpant wearing, heavily moustachiod ‘Thatcherites’, the show starts with some high energy YMCA-ing. “They double jabbed me before the show,” quips the Iron Lady, “And I haven’t even had my vaccination yet.”
Double jabbing aside, the supporting actors bring a great deal of energy to their various characters including gruff cabinet ministers, a Scottish chauffeur, and striking miners, the highlight being a talking portrait of Winston Churchill detailing his various gay sexploits.
As in real life you can get a bit too much of Maggie and the momentum drops two thirds into the show. A couple more song and dance numbers might have perked things up. Sound engineers are possibly the most miserable people you could meet as they’re only mentioned when things go wrong, and unfortunately the sound in this show was fuggy, although I’d wager this is more to do with the production set-up rather than the knob twiddler.
There really isn’t any excuse for poor sound quality, even in a giant tent, and it was a shame for the performers who had most definitely honed their one liners to perfection.
Tedford’s portrayal veers from making Thatcher almost likeable then straight back to pantomime villain territory: “Well, I’ve never been booed in Scotland before!”, she remarks with incredulity.
Although the show might have gone on too long, it’s an entertaining romp through the 80s nonetheless.