Don’t Look Over Here, Andrew Lloyd Webber

Don’t Look Over Here, Andrew Lloyd Webber by Sh!t Theatre, Camden People’s Theatre, London

Sh!t Theatre’s approach is entirely unique – a potent combination of extreme silliness and penetrating political critique. In a succession of award-winning shows, from Letters to Windsor House to Sh!t Theatre Drink Rum with Expats, they have tackled violence, corruption, hypocrisy, sexism, migration, racism and a great deal more. They blend this with a fascination for areas of pop culture most performers probably think beneath them, such as Dolly Parton in Dollywould and their ridiculously amusing Love Actually parody-tribute, Sh!t Actually. Now Rebecca Biscuit and Louise Mothersole return with a show-in-development piece at Camden People’s Theatre, their spiritual home. Everyone is keen to discover what insights they have developed during lockdown. It soon turns out that they have mostly been listening to ‘Evita!’ and taking on interns.

The show is presented by two epically out-of-their depth work experience interns, who have taken on the donkey work while Rebecca and Louise relax in the corner, emerging only to deliver the big musical numbers. It also becomes apparent from film footage, a Sh!t Theatre trademark, that the interns have been disturbingly exploited, although they seem not to realise it. Their duties include non-stop dancing in the garden and bathing Rebecca and Louise, together. Their employers’ behaviour may have been influenced by their research into the life of Argentinian dictator Juan Perón, his doomed wife Eva and his second wife, ex-dancer Isabella. The latter, who became the first female leader of a country in the modern era when Perón died in 1974, is not quite the feminist icon her CV might imply. Calling herself Isabelita, she was best known for running death squads to enforce her right-wing dictatorship before fleeing into exile in Madrid, where she escaped prosecution. She and Perón are less remembered for embalming Eva’s body and hanging it in their dining room. The full, fascinating Gothic horror of the Perón era does not feature in ‘Evita!’ written, as Sh!t Theatre put it, “by Conservative peer Andrew Lloyd Webber and UKIP donor Tim Rice.” They are in the process of correcting this, rewriting several numbers to reflect the story as they see it, to hilarious and probably illegal effect. It will be a tense wait to discover how Louise and Rebecca will complete the show, as they claim to be planning a visit to find Isabelita, who is still alive in her 90s, somewhere in Madrid. As long as they survive their research phase, this has the makings of their best show yet.

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