Tony award? Opera to be staged about Britain’s Blair

Source: AFP Published: 2020/12/15 18:48:40

He once played guitar in a band called Ugly Rumours and hosted Britpop's leading lights in 10 Downing Street. 

Now former UK prime minister Tony Blair is the subject of an opera, with a colorful cast of characters.

Tony! (A Tony Blair Rock Opera), written by comedian Harry Hill, will be performed in 2021 at the Turbine Theatre next to the Battersea Power Station.

The theater called the show, set to open in February 2021, "a reckless reappraisal" of the life of the Labour Party's most successful leader, who was in power for 10 years from 1997.

Publicity for the spectacle says it is "the story of how one man went from peace-loving, long-haired hippy and would-be pop star to warmongering millionaire in just a couple of decades."

The story plays "fast and loose with the facts, owing as much to Citizen Kane as it does to The Marx Brothers - Karl and Groucho," it added.

Characters set to feature include Blair's wife, Cherie, his combative press secretary Alistair Campbell, former Al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden and ex-US president George W. Bush.

Depictions of Princess Diana, former Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein and Gordon Brown, Blair's dour finance minister and successor, will also appear on stage.

Blair became Britain's youngest prime minister since Lord Liverpool in 1812 when he won a landslide election victory in 1997 aged 42, ending 18 years of unbroken Conservative rule.

He was initially popular, introducing social and economic reforms, with a media-savvy approach, which included describing Diana as "the people's princess" after her death in 1997.

But critics have still not forgiven his support for Bush's "War on Terror" and invasion of Iraq to oust Saddam. 

Since leaving office he has been a Middle East envoy and set up his own foundation on religion, climate change and Africa, but been criticized for accepting lucrative private-sector work. 

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