Old Vic theatre, London
Mike Bartlett’s script turns US politics into Shakepearean comedy but falls oddly flat despite magnetising performances
Donald Trump’s inner circle has, in Mike Bartlett’s satire, turned into a Shakespearean court of a near future in which the former president is back in the game. The script, best in its granular moments of comedy, blends billionaire pomp with political chicanery, dynastic family drama and blank verse.
Trump arrives on stage in a golf buggy, throwing out a prologue after which his children stride on looking like expensively dressed accountants with lacquered helmet hair. Bertie Carvel’s Trump calls himself the devil and proceeds to have all the best lines. He also bears all the tics and inflections of the real Donald, encapsulating Trump’s swaggering facility to amuse and to showboat, to coin an offensive catchphrase and use it to best effect. Tamara Tunie as Kamala Harris is just as magnetising in her performance, exuding strength and bounce but, like Carvel, steers away from a simple Dead Ringers-style impersonation.