Brighton’s longest-running show celebrates ten years of satirical songs and sketches tomorrow with a one-off “best of” special at the Theatre Royal.
The Treason Show 10 Year “Best of” Anniversary Edition features the original cast as well as some of the familiar faces from more recent shows.
And almost all of the material for the one-off show has been performed before and has made the director’s cut because it went down so well.
Although Treason founder and director Mark Brailsford insists that all the songs and sketches will have to work on their own merits as the show plays its biggest venue yet.
As usual Brailsford will be leading from the front, taking a starring role as well as directing the show.
He writes some of the material for each show too, although he shares the credit, pointing out that there have been 260 other contributors since the show began.
That’s not all. Although the cast typically consists of four performers – ideally two men and two women – there have been 57 performers over the past decade.
And the Treason family has given birth to 12 babies – including Brailsford’s own two daughters aged 4 and 1 – and celebrated five weddings.
These days the show is settled at the Pavilion Theatre in New Road – across the road from tomorrow evening’s venue.
But for its first nine years it was based at Komedia in Gardner Street until a falling out last year.
“I can’t believe we’re still going,” said Brailsford. “When we left Komedia I thought that was it.”
He described the parting as a very low period. But the show’s fan base put a smile back on Brailsford’s face.
“Someone in Waitrose said you’ve got to keep it going then someone on the bus said the same thing and then someone in Churchill Square.”
It reached the point where he knew that plenty of people still wanted his irreverent take on local, national and international news.
And for the “best of” show the format has been extended from two acts to three.
“We’ll be bringing back blasts from the past,” he said.
“It’s not just ten years of our favourite material – I’m calling it the director’s cut – but a look at a tumultuous ten years of history.
“We’ve had the Iraq war and Afghanistan, Bush and Blair, the Twin Towers and the credit crunch.”
Some characters have lent themselves more easily to satire and spoofery – such as George Bush, John Prescott and the Archbishop of Canterbury.
Tony Blair, Gordon Brown and David Cameron have also been perennially entertaining.
Cameron is played as a louche lounge lizard with the Leslie Philips catchphrase “ding dong!” (from Carry On Nurse).
The archbishop, a staple of Alastair Kerr’s time in the cast, always appeared slightly sozzled and rambled hilariously to the “members of conflagration”.
Some of the stock characters include Daniel Beales’s take-off of Patrick Moore, a surprisingly literary Wayne Rooney and, more recently, BBC political editor Nick Robinson morphing into Eric Morecambe.
The Queen and Prince Philip have been known to make an appearance and some of the news sketches also mock the rolling news formats on the BBC and Sky.
Random News Totty
Regular fans will expect Random News Totty and her American counterpart Anne Anchor on Fux News (sic) – “news for the hard of thinking”.
They will also eagerly anticipate Brailsford baring his soul – and more!
The show has played almost every month for ten years in Brighton and from time to time it has hit the road.
The touring version has been seen at various venues around Sussex and the South East. It has played at the Edinburgh festival and even in Berlin.
The foray abroad seemed somehow appropriate given the spoof Eurotrash-style sketches in cod German that were a staple of the show for some years.
Known as the Treason Spielen Schau, they featured Brailsford and his wife Carol Kentish, who was one of the original cast members.
She will be one of a dozen performers putting on tomorrow’s show, marking a change from her recent behind-the-scenes roles as writer, administrator and busy mother of two.
No sooner will tomorrow’s “best of” be out of the way than the couple – who live in Hanover – will start work on next month’s shows.
They will be staged at the Pavilion Theatre on Friday 3 and Saturday 4 December.
Preparations will swiftly follow for the annual end-of-year show too. The Treason Show – That Was The Year That Was 2010 runs from Monday 27 to Friday 31 December, also at the Pavilion Theatre, featuring the best of the material from this year.
It’s hard to work out how Brailsford fits it all in – last month he embarked on a full-time one-year MA in creative writing and authorship at Sussex University.
He said: “A lot of students do a part-time job to get through, so I’m going to go for it.”
It’s hard, though, to regard the Treason Show as a part-time job but, for once, Brailsford is being completely serious.
* The Treason Show 10 Year “Best Of” Anniversary Edition is on at the Theatre Royal tomorrow night starting at 7.30pm with tickets costing £16.