This review was originally written for The Public Review.
Headbands, leg warmers and multi-colored leotards, together with electric green and blue eyeshadow, it is unmistakably a show about the 80s. This work is nominally about Margaret Thatcher and explores her legacy and the culture of the decade. It is presented as a mixture of sketches with physical theatre and slapstick comedy. All the subject matter of the Thatcher era is here: the coal miner’s strike, the Falklands operation, the economy, arts funding, section 28 and milk.
There is a serious discussion of Thatcher’s effect on feminism and how that affected budding feminists growing up at the time. Even a satirical mash ups of Thatcher’s speeches and lyrics from pop music of the period is included. It also questions the idealism promoted by the government of the virtue of a conservative and capitalist lifestyle of mortgage and marriage. The coverage is certainly complete.
Rachel Mars and Nat Tarrab are charming and likeable and their personas are well suited to the voice and opinions they are given. But their style comes across rather like a children’s television double act presenting a short section about the 80s on Blue Peter. It is enjoyable but it lacks the gravitas to get some of the points across. Everything is lightly touched upon but in an area so rich in satire, it feels like an opportunity missed. Besides, the show can do with a more rigorous direction in order to string the material together more tightly and with more momentum.
There is perhaps one too many lengthy costume changes which can be trimmed even if the show currently only runs to 45 minutes. There are elements here that are really effective and entertaining and it could do with some more work to fulfil its potential. Like the space hopper which makes a deserved appearance, it may be fun, but it is rather empty inside.