“Veep” creator Armando Iannucci’s first stage play “Pandemonium” is a satire on how then U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson and his government handled the COVID-19 pandemic.
The subtitle of the play is: “Being A Scornful Account of the Activities of Mr Boris Johnson and ‘Others’ during the Pandemic and its Aftermath.” The production is described as “a caustic entertainment for the winter months, a funny, wild ongoing history play about how our great leaders grappled first with the Pandemic and then with each other. The Johnson-Truss-Sunak years told at a furious pace in all their horrible glory. Relive the horror! The Mess! The Murk! The lying about the lies!.”
Johnson resigned as Prime Minister in July 2022 among mounting political scandals. There were several illegal parties at his residence, 10, Downing Street, during the COVID-19 lockdown and an inquiry found Johnson guilty of misleading parliament about them. Johnson subsequently resigned as a member of parliament.
“Jingle while you mingle with Bully Raab and Super Suella,” the “Pandemonium” description adds. “It’s one big dodgy party. Bring a suitcase.” There references here are to the infamous ‘Jingle while you mingle’ illegal Christmas party at the ruling Conservative party’s headquarters during lockdown; former Deputy Prime Minister Dominic who has been accused of bullying; the Home Secretary Suella Braverman; and the practice of ferrying suitcases full of alcohol into No. 10 during COVID-19 restrictions.
Patrick Marber, Tony winner for Tom Stoppard’s “Leopoldstadt” and Oscar, BAFTA and Golden Globe nominee for his “Notes on a Scandal” screenplay, will direct.
Iannucci said: “I wanted to write something furious and energetic about the past three years. ‘Pandemonium’ is partly about us wanting those in charge to be up to the job, to be heroes, and the anger that started building when the news of the drinks parties began to emerge. And yes, I wanted to write something funny (don’t forget, we also had Liz Truss!). Laughter is a great release, and my aim is for the audience to have a good time and a good laugh, but I also hope it helps people process the tumultuous and crazy time we went through.”
Iannucci is one of the U.K.’s foremost political satirists who scored an Oscar nomination for “In the Loop,” a BAFTA nomination for “The Death of Stalin” and a BAFTA win for “The Thick of It,” all considered amongst the best British political satires of all time. He is also adapting Stanley Kubrick’s 1964 political satire film “Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb” as a stage production for London’s West End.
Wayward Productions will open “Pandemonium” at London’s Soho Theatre from Dec. 1 and it will run through Jan. 6, 2024.
- ‘Veep’ Creator Armando Iannucci Sets COVID-19, Boris Johnson Satire ‘Pandemonium’
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