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


Editor Rating: 
Average: 4 (1 vote)

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