thu 14/11/2019

Jonathan Pie, Eventim Apollo review - spoof reporter in coruscating form | reviews, news & interviews

Jonathan Pie, Eventim Apollo review - spoof reporter in coruscating form

Jonathan Pie, Eventim Apollo review - spoof reporter in coruscating form

Tom Walker's creation gives a state-of-the-union lecture

Jonathan Pie is the alter ego of actor and comic Tom Walker

Jonathan Pie is a YouTube star, a spoof television news reporter (created by actor and comic Tom Walker), who is prone to gaffes. It was one of those on-screen gaffes that led to Pie being sacked as the BBC's Westminster correspondent, footage of which we see here on the onstage big screen alongside the highlights and lowlights of Pie's career – mostly the latter. The Fake News Tour is Pie salvaging what he can from his fame as he starts a lecture tour to explain how we got into this Brexit mess.

The show is indeed mostly about Brexit, but Pie also takes aim at TV “celebrities”, social media influencers, woke comedians, politicians of all hues, social privilege and members of the royal family. He breaks down what modern media is – “news, fake news, gossip and Twitter”. But mostly he sticks it to Donald Trump and Boris Johnson; the latter is the subject of a lengthy set piece in which he is given various descriptions, the nicest of which is “a Milky Bar kid found 40 years later”.

There are deep levels of irony as Pie blames the Internet for killing his career, and there are times when Pie moves into the personal – his divorce, the mention of his five-year-old son – that you wonder, not for the first time in this show, what may be fact or what may be fiction.

Pie lays into those quick to take offence, or those who won't let the facts stand in the way of an opinion, and he makes the astute point that the media – however it is defined – must take responsibility for its consumers no longer being able to tell the difference between solid facts and uninformed views. This being Pie, though, he has his cake and eats it where he suggests there are things you can't say any more, and then says them anyway. It's a neat inversion.

Even if your politics are similar to Pie's, there will be plenty that will make you catch your breath, but that's the point. We are not one homogenous whole, Walker is saying, so we need to be a little less keen on sidelining those whose views we disagree with, and a lot more open to the idea that none of us has got it absolutely right all the time.

This state-of-the-union address is the first show that Walker has written without co-writer Andrew Doyle (who created the online warrior Titania McGrath) and it marks a real step up in writing and performance, being more focused and going for the jugular. He keeps up Pie's sneering, cynical persona for 75 minutes of often coruscating comedy delivered with unflagging energy.

Pie lays into those quick to take offence, or those who won't let the facts stand in the way of an opinion

rating

Editor Rating: 
4
Average: 4 (1 vote)

Share this article

Add comment

Subscribe to theartsdesk.com

Thank you for continuing to read our work on theartsdesk.com. For unlimited access to every article in its entirety, including our archive of more than 10,000 pieces, we're asking for £3.95 per month or £30 per year. We feel it's a very good deal, and hope you do too.

To take an annual subscription now simply click here.

And if you're looking for that extra gift for a friend or family member, why not treat them to a theartsdesk.com gift subscription?

newsletter

Get a weekly digest of our critical highlights in your inbox each Thursday!

Simply enter your email address in the box below

View previous newsletters

Advertising feature

★★★★★

A compulsive, involving, emotionally stirring evening – theatre’s answer to a page-turner.
The Observer, Kate Kellaway

 

Direct from a sold-out season at Kiln Theatre the five star, hit play, The Son, is now playing at the Duke of York’s Theatre for a strictly limited season.

 

★★★★★

This final part of Florian Zeller’s trilogy is the most powerful of all.
The Times, Ann Treneman

 

Written by the internationally acclaimed Florian Zeller (The Father, The Mother), lauded by The Guardian as ‘the most exciting playwright of our time’, The Son is directed by the award-winning Michael Longhurst.

 

Book by 30 September and get tickets from £15*
with no booking fee.