Devised and created back in 2016 to record the build-up to and election of Donald Trump as the President of the United States, Trompe L’Oeil is brought to The Other Palace Studio by writer Henry Parkman Biggs and director/choreographer Blair Anderson. It’s delivered with great enthusiasm and skill by a strong cast who use the limited space of the studio adventurously and creatively.
Parkman Biggs and Anderson juxtapose the circus-like satirising of Trump, excellently portrayed by Emer Dineen, and his cronies with the dichotomous relationship between RIP and Demi (characterised beautifully by Alex Wadham and Dominic Booth respectively). Surrealism versus realism. It’s an intellectual device that allows Trump and his cronies to occupy a different world from RIP and Demi, but Anderson fails to weave the two together, so it feels as if we’re watching two, unrelated stories.
Over seven years in the making, it’s undoubtedly an extremely clever piece musically and lyrically – we’re given programme notes to tell us exactly how clever – but it’s at least two years too late for it to be cutting edge or satirical. Instead, it feels a bit pretentious with pangs of “look at me!”.