It’s the start of an end of the pier show tradition if the confident performance by the Treason Show cast last night is anything to go by.
The long-running satirical sketch show, peppered with some excellent songs, opened in Horatio’s Bar on the Palace Pier, Brighton, on Friday (23 March). Last night they were firing well on all four cylinders.
Each month the four-strong cast perform an entirely new topical show, with a number of familiar formats like Fux News – “news for the hard of thinking” – as a vehicle to poke fun at the great and not-so-good.
Another of the favourite formats, the Treason Spielen Schau, a Eurotrash pastiche, proved as much of a crowd pleaser as ever last night.
The targets ranged from presidents – Trump, Putin and Kim – to Prime Minister Theresa May, aka the Maybot, Tory MP Jacob Rees-Mogg and perennial local issues such as parking and overflowing bins.
While a fair few members of the audience tucked into fish and chips before the show, the opening song mocked KFC’s inadvertent chicken-free menu.
And Vladimir Putin became a waiter offering desserts in the Salisbury branch of Zizzi, including novichok ice and death by chocolate.
The songs included Who Wants to be a Carillionaire? which – like the running gag in a series of spoof government information films – took aim at outsourcing, tax dodging and cowboy business practices.
A Donald Trump and Kim Jong-un duet worked well, as did Stormy D – porn star Stormy Daniels singing to the tune of Sandra Dee from Grease.
And the first half of the show closed with a classic Beach Boys song, Fun Fun Fun, rendered as Guns Guns Guns. The prospect of armed teachers in American classrooms had earlier made well-aimed material for a sketch.
The call to move the homeless off the streets of Windsor before Prince Harry’s wedding was mocked to the tune of Get Me to the Church on Time. From the first line – “I’m getting moved on in the morning” – it set the tone for a strong second half.
Closer to home, a Bonnie Tyler hit, Holding Out for a Hero, was performed against a screened montage of rubbish-strewn streets, to the refrain “I Need a Bin Man”.
There was a blast from the past with John Major as superhero Remainerman and a slightly surreal turn from two pandas at Edinburgh Zoo, bitching about their mating troubles.
Pleasingly often, the thematic relevance of an original song underpinned the comedy lyrics. The final song, for instance, to the tune of an old Irish favourite, The Wild Rover, had the audience singing along to lyrics about The Hard Border.
The cast – Sophia Behn, Matt Grief, Kerren Garner and director Mark Brailsford – were cheered to the new-look rafters in the recently refurbished Horatio’s.
They returned for an encore of songs – a medley of James Bond theme tunes – about the recent chilly weather, including Coldfingers and Snowfall.
The gang is back in early May when the Brighton Festival and Fringe are under way. On Friday 4 May the Treason Show is on at the Ropetackle in Shoreham.
And the cast return to the end of the pier for the start of a three-night run in Brighton on Thursday 10 May to Saturday 12 May. It could become as traditional as fish and chips.