We round up the reviews for the new musical inspired by famous surrealist pieces of art and written by Henry Parkman Biggs.
London Theatre Reviews: “The cast do very well with the limited staging and resource available in this space, but at times this does undermine the atmosphere – it will be interesting to see how it evolves in larger venues. Blair Anderson’s choreography is fabulous, drawing us into the performative fun of this show – one stand-out involves a perfectly executed torch routine that is uniquely affecting. Coupled with Jack Weir’s lighting design, we do start to experience the cabaret environment that this piece so desperately needs.”
Theatre & Tonic: I will make it very clear that I think the cast are beyond talented. Emer Dineen’s take on Donald Trump is brilliant, and almost like watching the man himself (a compliment, I promise!). Sarah Louise Hughes bounces between characters seamlessly and without breaking a sweat. Olivia Saunders sex doll-esque take on Ivanka Trump is a highlight, and generated the most laughs. The rest of the cast are as equally fantastic, showcasing some real dance and musical talent. I actually loved the costumes and setting, which made great use of the small space.”
Broadway World: “To their credit, the cast tackle this bizarre material with skill and fervour. Sarah Louise Hughes as ‘The Imitator’ gives a particularly impressive performance, shifting between characters with ease and commanding the stage. We’ve seen a lot of Trump impressions since 2016 and even before, but Emer Dineen’s is a solid one. Ensemble member Yasmin Sharp shines through in the dance numbers – this is a strong company making the best of their material. Set Designer Justin Williams has also done a stellar job, and Director/Choreographer Blair Anderson infuses the piece with a slick, fun movement style.”
The Reviews Hub: “The songs are fun and energetically performed; Bounce has Trump firing people as they ricochet around the stage on a trampoline. The linking numbers are reminiscent of Cabaret with a dash of Hamilton’s patter. Putin and his goons do a spirited take on Putting on the Ritz whilst dressed as a cross between Alex de Large’s droogs and Pierrot. Many of the songs contain hidden messages and it’s worth getting the programme to have these spelled out. As well as the lipogram song, there’s an anagram one. There are a number of songs where the notations form various pictures. Putin sings a Pushkin sonnet. These are all very clever conceits but really only make an impact printed on the programme; they aren’t particularly translated onto the stage.”
The Spy in the Stalls: “The allusions to illusion in “Trompe L’oeil” are misleading – the show doesn’t quite match its title. But it is an intriguing concept and one that will probably divide audiences, and lead to some interesting discussions. Let’s hope they can ‘disagree peacefully’.”
British Theatre Guide: “Trompe l’Oeil is a bizarre confection that pokes fun at Trump’s personality. It lacks real bite, but the precision and energy with which its hard-working cast deliver it hold the attention.”
Queer Guru.com: “Overall the show is better at poking fun than making a point. Somewhere in it is a message about the problems caused by vilifying the political opposition rather than trying to understand them. But confusion wins out over the conclusion and it never quite takes off. It’s hard to satirize something that felt like satire at the time. A challenge at the heart of the show is its timing. It is too far away from the emotions of the Trump presidency and not quite close enough to the realistic prospect of him becoming president again. It feels out of place. However, once we are through the Republican primaries it may all start to feel very familiar.”
Stage to Page.co.uk: “This cast is phenomenal and fun! A highlight for me was Alex Wadham. From his impeccable vocals to the way he portrayed Rip, I couldn’t keep my eyes off of him. The chemistry between him and, Dominic Booth, who played Demi was authentic and natural. This made the storyline of Rip and Demi captivating. Another highlight performance for me was Sarah Louise Hughes as the Imitator. She gave me Cabaret Emcee vibes; what a performance!”
Trompe L’Oeil continues to play at The Other Palace until the 15th October.