REVIEW: BORIS: WORLD KING (Trafalgar Studios 2)


Following a sold-out run at the 2015 Edinburgh Fringe, the satirical comedy Boris: World King arrives in London. As his days as Mayor of London are coming to an end, Boris Johnson thinks starring in a West End show might just be the ticket for his next career move, which is not necessarily Prime Minister although he appears in the theatre closest to Downing Street. No, his ambitions might lead him into a completely different direction!

Introduced by the narrator (Simon Callow) as a godlike, modern Heracles, who has had to overcome numerous trials to achieve his present position, Boris (David Benson) makes his entrance on one of his famous bikes, almost causing a severe accident. He immediately begins chatting up the audience, especially attractive young women, and goes on to discuss the upcoming mayoral election, finding to his disappointment that most members of the audience favour the Labour candidate, a socialist in his opinion. A wheel of fortune, that Boris manipulates at will, randomly decides on the next subject of his show, starting with his humble beginnings at Eton. Whilst he stumbles through his performance, frequently forgetting his lines, falling over props, and taking calls on his mobile, his long suffering assistant Helen (Alice McCarthy) tries her best to salvage the show when a political crisis ensues. Boris, having forgotten that the microphone was still on, called a respected war veteran, who works for charity, a fat and greedy scrounger. The Independent is going to print all about this faux pas. Yet Boris might have something up his sleeve…

Tom Cranshaw’s amusing script and David Benson’s skilful improvisation and his great rapport with the audience make for a highly entertaining evening. Seeming like harmless friendly joshing at first, Yaz Al-Shaater’s production soon turns into biting satire as it reveals a highly ambitious man behind the “chummy bumbling act”, completely devoid of convictions, doing whatever is necessary to achieve his next career goal. Beware, Americans, Boris Johnson was born in New York, NY.

Reviewed by Carolin Kopplin
Photo: Richard Davenport

Boris: World King is playing at the Trafalgar Studios until 14th May