Tomorrow Night Live

Reviewer's rating

Tomorrow Night Live is a highly active and partially interactive take on both the daytime TV
format and political discussion shows. It introduces a panel of varied stereotypes – middle-
class ecowarrior, cool girl feminist, Instagram Influencer, etc along with a po-faced rapper, a
slightly too willing to agree with Labour MP, and a Tory MP who made the crowd stand for the
national anthem. I didn’t – the title contains two concepts I don’t believe in and if I am going
to embarrass an actual MP when staying seated as his guest at a royal gala ballet
performance, I am not going to stand for someone pretending to be an MP. What surprised
me – and was relevant to later parts of the performance – was that every other
audience member did.

Tomorrow Night Live has interesting – if not completely original – things to say about the
dynamics both of television and politics. It explores where these meet and where they clash
and does so in a way that engages the eye constantly. The show is visually stunning with
constant movement, energy, and physical wit throughout.

Where the show fell down a little for me was in trying to have its cake and eat it when it
came to the superficiality of political opinion shows (FULL DISCLOSURE: I had hotfooted it
to the theatre from appearing on just such a show so I may be defensive of how I make my
living). These shows and their light touch on issues can and should be scrutinised and
criticised. Many of the points raised are valid, but I felt it let itself down somewhat when it
played a little too much to the audience (including me) left-wing and liberal prejudices.
So the Tory MP was an absolute horror show while the Labour MP was regularly applauded
for – well not much. I’m a card-carrying member of the Labour Party and have been for 32
years and I am here to tell you that our MPs do not get to have it so quickly – nor should they.
Challenge is what strengthens our ideas and this play could have done a little more of that.
Especially in a show criticising the paucity of debate.

However, there were moments of real laugh-out-loud clarity. For example. in an audience
involvement segment, one of the ‘TV hosts asked an audience member “True or false: 80%
of people voted Tory at the last election” to which they responded “Yes and it’s disgusting”
disgusting it may be. And for myself, I agree with that audience member that far too many
people voted to put Boris Johnson in power. But 80% of them? Come on!

This idiocy was swiftly underlined and undercut with the follow-up question “did you know that 64% of all
statistics are made up?” To the audience member’s credit, they grasped what had just
happened and laughed at themselves. So too it seemed was the production.
But that levity and self-reflection were not mirrored throughout this fun and interesting but
ultimately uneven production. There is loads of potential in Tomorrow Night Live but it
needs to decide if it is going to challenge or coddle its audience. I think it could provide great things if it goes forward and does the former.