To Hell and Back (4 stars)

To Hell and Back

credit: Leslie Black

A satirical cabaret that targets apathy and cuts to the bone

Withering satire is one thing, but where does it get really you in life? That is the question being raised here in this brand new show: free speech as a force for good. The team behind A Play, A Pie and A Pint's The Jean Jacques Rousseau Show – which featured local theatre favourites like Julia Taudevin, Kieran Hurley and Gary McNair, as well as the performers in To Hell and Beck – are now called The DM Collective. The DM of their name is of course, a doff of the cap to late, much-missed founder of PPP, theatre activist David MacLennan.

This trip to hell with a nod to Dante's Inferno suggests that today we are stuck in an endless purgatory of Twitter, peer pressure, crap telly and first-world problems which detract from real issues. A fantastic cast of five, with particularly excellent work from Brian James and Joyce Falconer as a seductive capitalist Satan, their political skits play with the formula and are genuinely hard-hitting: the race horses representing immigration scene feeling especially uncomfortable and timely.

Everyone gets it in the neck- Nick Clegg, Labour, left and right alike,SNP, tabloid and Guardian readers. The Jeremy Corbyn sketch, impishly performed by James, is a wince-inducing deconstruction of stand-up comedy's feel-good banter complete with rubbish stick-on beard. Fleetwood Mac's 'Lies' is delivered to The Sun's prurient celeb-obsessed writers; while D: Ream's New Labour anthem 'Things Can Only Get Better' is upended completely. It's biting all right, but coming from a good place.

MacLennan himself would have been proud- a fitting homage to his humour and humanity alike.

Òran Mór, Glasgow, until Sat 19 Sep.

To Hell and Back

One year on from the Independence Referendum and four months from the General Election, To Hell and Back is a political sketch show examining politics in Britain today. Featuring Dave Anderson, Joyce Falconer, Cat Grozier, Brian James and Kirstin McLean, and directed by Catrin Evans.

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