Trompe L'Oeil

“a kooky, insane, brash show”

The Other Palace Studio has been taken over by Trompe L’oeil, a kooky, insane, brash show about Donald Trump and his political rise and then fall from the top. 

There are 2 main lines in this story, one follows Trump the other follows 2 lovers; RIP, a right leaning Christian man who although isn’t fully behind Trump, doesn’t think he’s that bad. And Demi, a gender non conforming (female presenting) person who is radically left and proud of it. 

We meet Trump played by Emer Dineen just before he decides he wants to become president. Emer shines here with a wonderful caricature of Trump, a fantastic physical and vocal performance really shows off Emer’s vast talent. 

Dominic Booth has a star turn as Demi, giving us wonderful vulnerability at times along with strong powerful female energy at others. Watching their love story with Alex Wadham as RIP is a joy as both actors work hard to bring some ‘normal’ to the show. These characters could have a show all of their own and it would be a delight. 

Trompe L’Oeil uses many illusions throughout, mainly in the songs included, we have Onegin Stanza’s, Lipogram’s and word puzzles that make your head spin. At times it’s difficult to ascertain what is being sung and to clearly understand the meanings behind the words. This does often mean that it can be disengaging at times. Though Blanke Verse performed by Olivia Saunders as the robotic, Barbie-esque Ivanka is a fantastically funny performance.

The studio space is small but the set design from Justin Williams is very well thought out. It’s simple yet very effective with a TV screen at the back for projections, some small stairs and 1 box a lot of achieved. 

Trompe L’oeil, as well as the title of this show is an optical illusion technique most often used in painting to fool the viewer into seeing things that are not really there, I struggle to see this being used as a form in this show. It feels that the writing is trying too hard to be both cerebral and satirical at the same time and much of the cleverness is lost to confusion. The message of being better together and united is not as clear as it could be, with some gentle re-writes and maybe more emphasis on the message rather than the satire this show could be an outstanding thought provoking piece of theatre. 

This show was reviewed on the 29th September,  Trompe L'Oeil runs at The Other Palace, London until the 15th October 2023.  Tickets available here: Trompe L’Oeil - The Other Palace Theatre

Review written by Rosie Browne

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Photo credit: Danny Kaan

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