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Review: Andy Zaltzman, Armchair Revolutionary, The Basement, City Screen, York
Displaying his certificate from the British Institute of Satirists and Lampooners – “Adequate” level – Andy Zaltzman was ready for an hour of unabashed political satire rife with inventive puns.
Then disaster struck. During his five-minute off-stage introduction, Andy accidently got an arrow through his head. After a quick call to NHS Direct he discovered he only had 66 minutes to live. Just enough time to perform Armchair Revolutionary.
The calvous Zaltzman covered politics, economics and global events with an enticing adroitness. The Arab Spring, August riots, AV vote, Wikileaks, pensions, death of Bin Laden and a hilarious interpretation of the “invisible hand” of financial markets came under verbose scrutiny and contrived analogies.
There was also a beautifully awful gag about Edith Piaf.
Zaltzman was aided by the Satiricax 3000, a “radio” broadcasting any news worth satirising, like the zoo-based accidents befalling golfers or a police dog resigning amid the hacking scandal.
In true “Bugle” fashion, Zaltzman indulged in a rhapsodising monologue overflowing with dog-based puns. Creative use of props similarly came in a football-tournament draw of upcoming wars including “the one we’ve all been waiting for”: USA v Russia.
Even the numerous redundant questions to the audience and catastrophic technical difficulties during his dramatic death scene could not stop Armchair Revolutionary from being a cerebral, genial and engaging hour of satire, silliness and surrealism.
Let us hope Andy Zaltzman survived that arrow as he is a compelling and convivial satirist with a penchant for inanity; and a love for puns.