A musical about what drove voters to Trump from their point of view sounds utterly horrifying for some of us.
Old Sole’s Great Again is a sympathetic look at a controversial subject. Trump supporters are racist, sexist, homophobic, anti-Semitic, anti-Muslim etc, right?
This production looks at those yearning for an America for Americans and shows us this from the groups of voters who were assumed not to be supporting Trump
Kelsey (Ellie Jackson) and Josh (Jacob Bradford) are college dropouts from Ohio silenced by the Liberal majority surrounding them. Why should they be politically correct? Kelsey is female, Josh is gay and later on, they are joined by John (Andy Umerah) a black College graduate. It is never really explained what drew them to conservatism-Kelsey and Josh come from liberal and emotionally distant families but we never learn much more. All seem to yearn for an America that never existed or at least never existed in their lifetime.
There is strong support from Alexander McMorran, Rosie Ward and Natasha Zacher as a variety of characters. The strongest scene is where the three young supporters are attacked by pro-Hilary protestors; where each of them are forced to consider not only why they want Trump; is it because he tells it like it is, is it because he is different like them or is it simply because they don’t want a woman as their president, which leads Kelsey to question what she really wants.
The Book and Lyrics from Isla Van Tricht are strong and wonderfully performed; much of the emotional output comes from the songs rather than the storyline. Len (McMorran)’s song about being a blue collar worker, hoping Trump can keep his promises is a realistic portrayal of a man, and others like him, who feel let down and tired of being let down is able to make the audience understand the conflict of voting for Trump; they trust him more than Hilary but not much more. The issue I have is that musically a lot of Guy Woolf’s songs sound too similar and lacking in a huge, energetic number to win the audience over.
The other thing is that do we need more “WHAT ABOUT THE TRUMP SUPPORTERS!?” hysterics, as if it is a warning from history, following many documentaries in the year since Trump was elected and had his inauguration. It is a piece that should attract both pro and anti-Trump supporters as it represents both sides evenly but I don’t feel I learnt anything new and if you are going to do a political production you cannot be as frothy as this production is.It needs to make people think and a musical about Trump, that doesn’t mention Obama or Bernie Sanders feels like his underestimated its audience.
Great Again is on at The Vaults Festival until 28 January https://vaultfestival.com/whats-on/great-again-the-musical/
Old Sole Theatre Company and their current projects can be found here http://www.oldsoletheatre.co.uk/