The 47th by Mike Bartlett. The Old Vic Theatre, The Cut, London SE 1 to 28 May 2022. 4****. William Russell.

Mike Bartlett is back in full Shakespearian mode in this story of what happens when Donald Trump returns to seek power and the forces he unleashed during his presidency threaten to overwhelm the USA. It is wordy, spot the plays plundered and relish the dazzling performance from Bertie Carvel which would alone make it worth going to see. From his entrance in a golf caddy – he descends to scratch his backside and fail to putt his ball – to the end he delivers a masterly comic performance which also conveys the power and danger inherent in the man. Joe Biden, played by a tremulous Simon Williams, quits the scene and Kamela Harris, played by Tamara Tunie, a principled figure facing the need to abandon some in the battle she faces is left as President until a new one is elected to deal with the marauders threatening the American way of life. Meanwhile, apart from the men led by horned monsters, she has to cope with the Trump family. The sons may be hopeless but there is Lydia Wilson as Ivanka, both her parent’s daughter, an ice cold Lady Macbeth in stiletto heels and designer clothes out to secure the future for herself. Rupert Gould’s production fires on all cylinders and he marshals the large cast with stunning precision as the catastrophe enfolds. Bartlett is on far firmer ground here than he is with Scandaltown, funny though it is, and the picture he paints of the shape of things to perhaps come manages to be both terrifying and very funny. But in the end what you will remember is Carvel swathed in his golf clothes, ever so bloated yet dainty with those odd little hand gestures, who has conjured up a completely believable monster capable of any cruelty and incredibly vain. What you see could be the man himself. This is theatre with something to say worth saying.
Donald Trump: Bertie Carvel.
Ivanka Trump: Lydia Wilson.
Donald Jr/Matt: Oscar Lloyd.
Eric Trump: Freddie Meredith.
Rosie Takahashi: Ami Tredrea.
Ted Cruz/Paul: James Garnon.
Ensemble: Charles Craddock, Kaja Chan, David Carr, Eva Fontaine.
Joe Biden: Simon Williams.
Steve Richett/Ohio Senator: Richard hansell.
Kamala Harris: Tamara Tunie.

Tina Flournoy/Nurse Vita: Cherrelle Skeete.
Charlie Takahashi: James Cooney.
Heidi Cruz/ Moderator/CIA: Jenni Maitland.
General Taylor: Ben Onwukwe.
Shaman: Joss Carter.

Director: Rupert Gould.
Set: Miriam Buether.
Costume: Evie Gurney.
Lighting: Neil Austin.
Sound: Tony Gayle.
Original Music & sound Score: Adam Cork.
Video: Ashj J Woodward.
Movement: Lynne Page.
Wigs, Hai & Makeup: Richard Mawbey.
Voice: Joel Trill.
Dialect: Brett Tyne.
Production Photographs: Marc Brenner.

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