“Ding dong, the witch is back!” comes the exuberant cry from Maggie, as she steps onto the stage. Following the runaway success of Margaret Thatcher, Queen of Soho, the Iron Lady is indeed back – bigger, better and camper than before, as she launches a career in the in the competitive world of gameshow hosting. Along the way there’s help from Cilia Black, Bruce Forsyth and a host of unfortunate audience members. Beneath the glitz and frequent gay anthems this is hard-hitting satire.
Her career as a cabaret superstar having fallen through, Maggie is now doing her best to relaunch herself on TV. To do so she’s come up with a winning formula for a show, pitting audience as the strivers against the skivers, in a series of hilarious challenges including “Brexit Through the Gifts Show” and “Wheel of Misfortune”. It’s not just Tories who are mocked however: there are appearances from Jeremy Corbyn (“JC himself”) and Nicola Sturgeon to make sure that the political left doesn’t escape a lampooning either.
As with Queen of Soho, the accompanying soundtrack and dance routines are truly magnificent, and ensure that – whilst making some sharp political points – it remains lively enough for a Saturday night. A lot of Maggie’s sass is undoubtedly scripted, but she’s clearly not shy of improvising, hilariously poking fun at drunk audience members when provoked.
Part of the genius of the show is that it both mocks Thatcher and at the same time manages to make her an incredibly funny lead… and, dare I say it, oddly sympathetic.
With a winning mixture of referendums, Brexit and gay anthems, this is a brilliant way to try and make sense of the quirks of recent British politics. Not to be missed by those who enjoy satire, but equally those who love Dolly Parton songs mixed in with cross-dressing cabaret. By the end of it, I guarantee that you won’t be able to look at Angela Merkel in the same way either.