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Review: Hell Yes I’m Tough Enough, at Park Theatre

02 May, 2019 — By Michael Stewart

Annie Tyson and Ben Ben Alderton in Hell Yes I’m Tough Enough. Photo: Robert Workman

THIS political satire from Ben Alderton is Spitting Image on acid, or a Gillray cartoon with all the savagery upped to fever pitch.

Naive innocent Patrick (Mikhail Sen) is an idealistic intern who is dropped sink-or-swim style into this swamp of cynicism where Blue party PM Dave Carter (Alderton) is battling the opposition Red party’s Ned Contraband (Ben Hood).

Carter’s in coalition with meek and mild doormat Nick Clog (James Bryant) whom he treats as the school fag when he’s not totally ignored.

Dave channels a fusion of public school bully Flashman and East End thug. Get Carter anyone? He towers over everyone on stage but only physically – morally he’s a dwarf. He, in turn, is chivvied and harassed by foul-mouthed campaign manager Glyniss (Annie Tyson, who could give Mike Tyson a run for his money), a monster of cynicism.

Contraband, meanwhile, is having trouble with his wimpy image. He is torn between his adviser; hard-as-nails, kick ’em-in-the-goolies Sharon Slaughter (Cassandra Hercules) and Will (Michael Edwards in a gloriously funny performance), a New Age yogic guru who oozes love and good vibrations.

Is Ned tough enough? Muddying the swampy waters even more is the mystery figure of Corbz the janitor, an elderly hooded figure with a white beard (Edward Halsted) who sweeps onto the stage (literally) to utter profoundly wise gibberish.

Is he an Obi-Wan Kenobi junkie; a proponent of “May the farce be with you?” Or is he the ghost of Corbynism yet to come? Maybe both. The message of this play is that politics is poison.

Until May 18
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