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27 June 2012
By Michael Holland
With so many awards connected to it these days, being in the Union Theatre is like being in the Bernabau. The theatre has had a recent refurb, with new seating and new lighting that would feel at home in any West End theatre. The owners, too, look like they have had makeovers, both looking dapper and happy with their current show: The Fix.
We open as the President enters with a call girl, and then gets bang at it on a table while draped in a Stars and Stripes. As the action quickens the President dies. On the job. Literally.
The ‘grieving’ wife has had a taste of being First Lady and does not want to surrender that privileged life easily, so with the help of her brother-in-law Graham, they set about moulding her son Cal into a future president: The Fix
Cal, though, is not made of the right stuff for the world’s top job; he likes girls, LSD, cocaine and telling the truth.
Nevertheless, he is trained up and schooled up in preparation. He is found a nice wife who gives him nice children and everything is looking good for his fast-track to the White House, but Cal just can’t keep away from the wild side of life.
He hooks up with a club singer and falls deeply in love, all the time having to keep her a secret, with the help of Uncle Graham and the Secret Service. The scandals are always just on the sidelines and just about kept at bay, but as much as the team try to clean up Cal’s act the more he wants to do things his way. You just know it is not going to end well. The deviousness and plotting is both long and short term and leads to clever twists in the end that caught me out.
With a Jackie Kennedy hairdo, Ronald Regan jelly beans, the morals of Tricky Dicky Nixon, a Monroesque character and Mafia wanting a piece of the President the scene is nicely set for 1960s America.
Sharp, Mad Men suits add to the overall feel. And with nothing but a table, a flag, wine trolleys and a bottle of gin for set and props, it is the little touches that make this work. Add Michael Strassen’s direction bringing the era to life, plus some great dance routines, and you have an excellent show.
More opera than musical with most of the dialogue sung, and with a tight band rocking up the songs and incidental music, The Fix is a hit.
The Union brings the action up close and intimate.So close, in fact, an FBI man kicked me. He must’ve thought I was getting too close to the President!
The Fix is about the lust for power and all its accoutrements, and how souls are sold for that power. There are star turns from Liz May Brice and Miles Western, with everyone else giving great performances.
Go and vote now.
The Union Theatre, 204 Union
Street, SE1 0LX 0207 until 14th July
Tuesday – Saturday 7.30pm Sunday
2pm & 6pm
Box Offce: 020 7261 9876 -
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