Philip Roth once said that satire is “moral outrage turned into comic art”. I hope that describes pretty well our new musical, “Scotch Egg” which is running this weekend at the Drayton Theatre in London. Roth’s quote certainly encapsulates the mood in which I wrote much of the Book and the Lyrics. Kept sane mainly by Toby’s Lockdown Sceptics, in March 2020 I watched in stunned disbelief as key principles of law and democracy were destroyed – and all for a seriously over-rated virus. As an ex-lawyer (now a writer and teacher) I was baffled and angered in equal measure. I reached for my pen. However, my writing partner, Dom Hartley, as well as being a musical genius, operates very much in a comedic universe. He hates anything too preachy. So, together we spent almost two years creating a show which joyfully mocks the powerful and the tragic absurdities of lockdown. Our key aim is to be entertaining. Always. So, the show opens with an out-of-work actor driven to alcoholism and working for Deliveroo; there is a song sung by an out-of-work burglar and one from an equally bereft sex-worker. Oh, and the song “Drama” contains a rap-battle between Boris Johnson and Chris Whitty. We don’t shy away from tragedy either – one song “Fading Away” shows a dying man being forced to say goodbye to his wife of 50 years on an iPad.
We’re no strangers to musical theatre, having written two previous shows, “Crunch” (about the 2008 financial crisis) and “Vision”, which has been produced twice at the Edinburgh Fringe and many times in England and abroad. Although “Scotch Egg” is a comedy, it feels more important now than these other pieces. It’s a show that we simply had to write. It certainly seems to have sparked some interest as tickets for this short run sold out in a few days. However, there are some remaining seats for press or industry professionals so, if that’s you, please get in touch via the show’s website. We are aiming for a longer run in the summer, when I hope many other Daily Sceptic readers will get a chance to see it. In the meantime, our cast are ready to get under those lights this weekend and try valiantly to dispel our country’s stubborn mass psychosis with the most powerful tool of all: mockery.
Here’s the blurb:
It’s 2040 and a late-night news show is running a retrospective on the Pandemic. In the studio with sharp-tongued presenter, Judith Harper-Jones, is ex-PM Lord Johnson. As the Peer struggles to explain the inexplicable, a series of characters take the audience through the comic and the tragic aspects of the crisis.
This show explores all the profound questions: What makes a life worth living? Is democracy dead? Does a scotch egg really constitute a substantial meal?
With satirical numbers like, The Laws are Set in Stone and He’s Gonna Save Christmas, combined with the pathos of songs like, Fading Away and We’re All Key Workers After All, this musical romp will provide thought-provoking satire and a much-needed Covid boost – without the need for a fourth jab.
Read a review (rehearsal) here.
And here’s the poster and programme: