Take probably the most divisive US President of all time and combine him with a Shakespearian King who quite literally divided his Kingdom and you’ve got Trump Lear, a witty and insightful one man show which comes to Edinburgh following a year long run in New York.

It’s all very meta, David Carl an actor and impersonator, has been locked up for performing his one-man version of King Lear, with Donald Trump playing all the parts.  Now he’s being forced to perform the show for an audience of one (we’re just figments of his imagination) the president himself, and his life depends on how much Trump enjoys Shakespeare’s “most boring play”, and how many viewers the Facebook live stream can pick up.

Carl does Trump along with a host of former presidents and White House lackeys.  Anyone other than Lear is a cardboard puppet, which look ready to disintegrate at any moment, strapped to a condiment bottle.  His impersonation of Trump is better in the pre-recorded segments than live, but the majority of his impersonations are strong.

There are times when it all feels a bit too rambling, and that’s probably because for large chunks of the performance Carl is attempting to reason with ‘Trump’, and we all know that’s nigh on impossible.  So, the constant back and forth ends up leaving even less time for the already heavily abridged Lear.

Trump Lear is certainly funny, and maintains its level of humour throughout, there’s one scene involving a cold McDonalds which frankly wasn’t required, leaving me feeling (like many of Trump’s policies) disgusted.  But, maybe that was the point.

Trump Lear could have been a deep exploration of the similarities between the modern president and the ancient King, but instead is a Beavis and Butthead style romp filled with childish humour.  That said, it doesn’t fail to get its point across, and anyone with even a vague understanding of American politics will enjoy the bawdy satire.

Review Date
Reviewed Item
Trump Lear at Pleasance Courtyard
Author Rating
Greg is an award-winning writer with a huge passion for theatre. He has appeared on stage, as well as having directed several plays in his native Scotland. Greg is the founder and editor of Theatre Weekly


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