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Home arrow Archive: EdFringe 2013 arrow Gráinne Maguire's One Hour All Night Election Special
Gráinne Maguire's One Hour All Night Election Special
Published on Thursday, 08 August 2013

4 stars

Underbelly, Bristo Square (venue website)
31 Jul, 1-15, 17-25 Aug, 2:45pm-3:45pm
Reviewed by Mathilda Gregory

 Recommended for age 16+ only.

Gráinne Maguire’s show about political ambition, democracy and her love of vulnerable men is a joyful landslide victory. With an in-built election, and the technician doing double duty as a returning officer, there’s everything a modern politics geek could wish for – in a delightful hour that drags Were You Up For Portillo? into this millennium.

There’s examination of the creepiness of South Sunderland’s desire to always be the first constituency to return, a sad look at the bad luck that has dogged Gordon Brown, and a deep examination of the strange attractiveness of Ed Milliband (using Photoshop).

A small conceit, about how all of life’s struggles are attempts to win small elections, is clearly a hook for some more personal material. The stories of Maguire’s failures have a lot of charm, but her political pieces are stronger, and as the show goes on a very distinct and refreshing form of satire begins to emerge.

When the Coalition government put the Conservatives back in power in 2010, it was expected that a resurgence in political comedy wouldn’t be far behind; but we still haven’t had the 80s-style satire-boom we were promised. What we got instead is a Twitter-fuelled vogue for quipping about politics online, particularly around #bbcqt, and Maguire’s show taps neatly into this trend of louche commentary. Her brand of satirical whimsy feels of its time.

The election that runs through the show produces a neat finale – although I felt a little cheated that, despite defining constituencies in the audience, the plebiscite was run on proportional representation rather than first-past-the-post. But electoral system gripes aside, this show cleverly combines the personal and the political, delivering some genuinely moving moments. I was surprised to find a few bars of Things Can Only Get Better can give me nostalgic goosebumps… and that the sentiments expressed in The Frog Chorus contain a political message we could all do to adhere to.

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