Updated: Aug 21, 2021
8 years ago, Olivier Award winner Jon Brittain and Matt Tedford (known to us as the Queen of Soho), debuted their show at Theatre503 in Battersea. Tonight, Maggie (yes, we’re on first name terms now) made her West End debut at the Garrick Theatre in Soho – and boy was she the Queen! If I hadn’t spent time writing this lovely review for the Iron Lady herself, I would say stop the press, avert your eyes from this review, and go book your tickets now. Seriously. She’s only on at the Garrick Theatre until Saturday 21st August, and it’s not often she’s raised from the dead to give you a smash hit drag extravaganza!
Maggie (Matt Tedford) is joined onstage by 'the wets', also known as Hessel and Tine. Unfortunately a joke that went straight over my Gen Z head – but I get it now boys, very clever (a reference to former Tory MP, Michael Heseltine if anyone is wondering). In fact, the show is dripping in witty satirical one liners, assuring that you will be in a constant state of laughter for the majority of the show. And no, you don’t have to be a political wiz to get them.
With a very fun and meta vibe, the show delves into the year 1988, a time when Maggie was faced with Section 28, also known as the ‘prohibition on promoting homosexuality by teaching or by publishing material’, triggered by a little book called ‘Jenny Lives with Eric and Martin’, and Jill Knight – boo (and oh did we boo). This sparks a panto-esque rivalry between the two political figures, as the Queen of Soho battles with her morals on what to do.
Of course, we have a love-hate relationship with the Iron Lady, but we can’t help but love Matt Tedford’s rendition of her. The comical asides, and audience interactions, are second to none. Even the occasional line mishap and off-the-cuff improvisations are hilarious and the multi-roling from Hessel and Tine is fantastic, from our villain Jill Knight to a painting possessed Churchill, the cabinet ministers, and dreamy hunk Peter Tatchell – there is a character for everyone. Oozing in irony, with references to modern day politics, Covid, and classic gay anthems (hats off for the music choice), this “educational” show is soon transformed into one of the best nights out you’ve had in a long time.
It’s not often I give a 5-star review, but Maggie deserves it after the lockdown she’s had, so go and grab your tickets now.
Margaret Thatcher Queen of Soho is on at the Garrick Theatre until Saturday 21st August 2021, tickets available here.
Photo by Rod Penn.