The Birmingham Rep Release Production Photographs For IDIOTS ASSEMBLE: SPITTING IMAGE SAVES THE WORLD – Live On Stage
World premiere performances at Birmingham Rep
Production shots have been released for Idiots Assemble: Spitting Image Saves the World, which is currently playing its world premiere performances at Birmingham Rep until Sat 11 March 2023.
World famous celebrities are thrown together as Tom Cruise is tasked by King Charles with saving Great Britain. Greta Thunberg duets with Stormzy as Putin and Xi watch on from their premium seats in the stalls. Have they just come out for a night on the town? Or will they wipe out all of civilisation? A show simultaneously inspired and appalled by real events.
King Charles and Paddington in Idiots Assemble: Spitting Image Saves The World – credit: Mark Senior
Sean Foley said “Trying to develop a satirical comedy based on the shifting politics of today has been the original fool’s errand: we’ve already thrown away 3 entire scripts - and several famous puppets aren’t even going to make their stage debuts anymore… But the sheer joy of casting Tom Cruise alongside King Charles, Greta Thunberg, RuPaul, Prince Harry and Meghan Markle has made up for it. To be premiering this theatrical extravaganza in Birmingham, the home of the original ground-breaking television series, is a wonderful thrill.”
“It’s a who’s who of the good, the bad and the ugly’ commented Al Murray. ‘I know Marvel like to say it, but our show is the greatest cross over event of all time. Where else could you get Michael Gove, Tom Cruise, Sir Ian McKellen, Idris Elba, Daniel Craig, Fiona Bruce and Paddington Bear on a single stage?”
Matt Forde added “We are living through an insane, abnormal, infuriating period, so the timing of this show couldn't be better. It's vital that we see our leaders lampooned with cutting satire and yes, whacked over the head with a big stick.”
The BAFTA and Emmy award-winning satirical Spitting Image television series originally ran for 18 series between 1984 and 1996, and was watched by over 15 million viewers. It recently made a popular return to TV on BritBox, where across official social media channels, Spitting Image content has been hugely popular with over 200 million views globally, three number 1 trending videos on YouTube and achieved critical praise across the political divide. Three one-off specials for ITV have also seen huge success on terrestrial television: with a 4.4 million audience achieving ITV’s highest Saturday night ratings at that time in four years.
The full creative team is: Director Sean Foley, writers Al Murray, Matt Forde and Sean Foley, Caricaturist Supremo Roger Law, Set Designer, Alice Power, Video Designer Nina Dunn, Sound Designer Paul Groothuis, Lighting Designer Tim Mitchell, Puppet Master Scott Brooker, Costume Designer Lotte Collet, Choreographer Lizzi Gee, Composer Felix Hagan, Associate Composer and Musical Director Alexander Bermange Production Manager John Rowland, Associate Director Nyasha Gudo, Associate Sound Designer Simon King, Assistant Set Designer Catherine Morgan, Puppet Casting Director Mikey Brett, Creators of Spitting Image Peter Fluck and Roger Law, Producer for Birmingham Rep Chloe Naldrett, General Manager Emma Brunjes and Executive Producers Richard Allen-Turner and Jon Thoday for Avalon.
Voice over artists are: Al Murray (The Royal Variety Performance, Al Murray’s Happy Hour, Why Does Everyone Hate the English? We Have Ways of Making You Talk), Debra Stephenson (The Impressions Show, Dead Ringers, Rich Hall’s Election Breakdown, Newzoids, Coronation Street and Bad Girls), Jess Robinson (Spitting Image, The Last Leg, Stars in Their Ears, and The Rise and Fall of Little Voice and Britain’s Got Talent, Jojo Lin (Spitting Image Puppeteer), Jason Forbes (The Tracy Ullman Show, The Mash Report and Horrible Histories: The Movie and Borg Mcenroe), Josh Berry (Josh Berry’s Fake News, NewsJack, Dead Ringers, The Tracey Ullman Show and The Michael McIntyre Show), Kathryn Drysdale (Bridgerton, Meghan Markle in The Windsors, Christmas on Mistletoe Farm, The Bubble, The Queen and I and Plebs), Lorna Laidlaw (Mrs Tembe in Doctors, Aggie in Coronation Street, Getting It Straight and A Midsummer Night’s Dream for Birmingham Rep), Luke Kempner (Spitting Image, Steph’s Packed Lunch, The Last Leg, Stand-up Sketch Show and The Imitation Game) Matt Forde (Spitting Image, Unspun with Matt Forde, The Royal Variety Performance, Have I Got News for You, The Political Party podcast and British Scandal) Ronan Summers (Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom and Krays: Code of Silence, Doctor Who and Episodes) and Shri Patel (Rishi Sunak in This England, Emmerdale and Pennyworth).
The puppeteers are: Will Palmer, Tom Quinn, Katie Bradley, Rayo Patel, Paula Brett, Jojo Lin, Kaidan Dawkins, Chand Martinez, Pena Liyambo, Faye Weerasinghe, Bertie Harris and Helen Parke.
Idiots Assemble: Spitting Image Saves the World - Live on Stage is presented by Avalon and Birmingham Rep.
Idiots Assemble: Spitting Image Saves the World runs at Birmingham Rep until Sat 11 Mar 2023. To book tickets visit Birmingham Rep, call 0121 236 4455 or visit the box office during opening hours.*
Dates: Running until 11 March 2023
6 Centenary Square
Tickets: from £16.50
Age Guidance: from 14+
Content Warning: Contains some strong language
Box Office: 0121 236 4455
Audio Described: Tuesday 7 March at 7.30pm
BSL Interpreted: Saturday 4 March at 2.30pm
Captioned: Thursday 23 February at 7.30pm
Relaxed: Thursday 2 March at 2.30pm
Al Murray with his alter-ego, The Pub Landlord, is one of the most recognisable and successful comedians in the UK.
For over 20 years Al has filled arenas and the largest theatres around the world as The Pub Landlord, and won numerous awards and accolades, including the Edinburgh Comedy Award (formally Perrier Award, after a record four successive nominations) and secured Olivier Award nominations for both of his sell-out West End runs. He has hosted countless TV series, including the acclaimed entertainment chat show Al Murray’s Happy Hour (ITV) and the ground-breaking sitcom Time Gentlemen Please (Sky). Al has made multiple appearances on The Royal Variety Performance (ITV) and hosted Live at the Apollo (BBC) and Live at the Palladium (ITV).
Swapping his comedy stage persona for himself, Al authored and presented the Broadcast Award-winning five-part series Al Murray: Why Does Everyone Hate the English? and Al Murray: Why Do The Brits Win Every War? (both Sky). Combining his passion for film and history he filmed two specials for BBC Four: Al Murray’s Great British War Movies and Al Murray’s Great British Spy Movies. Al also co-hosts the hugely popular WW2 history podcast, We Have Ways of Making You Talk with fellow bestselling military author James Holland.
As a writer, Al has also enjoyed great success with his books including Book of British Common Sense, Think Yourself British, Great British Pub Quiz Book, Watching War Films with My Dad and, most recently, Command, an entertaining and sharp analysis of the key allied military leaders in WW2, which was released this autumn.
Matt Forde is one of the country’s most in-demand satirists.
After 70 sold out Political Party podcast live shows at Westminster’s The Other Palace, Matt moved to the West End’s Duchess Theatre in 2021 for a twice extended fortnightly residency continuing in to 2023. He has brought Parliament to life with his stand-up and debate with some of politics’ most powerful figures including Keir Starmer, Nicola Sturgeon, Tony Blair, Jacob Rees-Mogg, Angela Rayner, Michael Heseltine, Anthony Scaramucci, Alastair Campbell, Gordon Brown and Gary Neville. The UK’s leading political podcast has amassed over 7 million downloads, received numerous nominations from award bodies including the British Podcast Awards and Chortle Awards and is regularly highlighted as a top podcast pick in the press.
He has hosted four series of Unspun with Matt Forde on Dave, receiving several Broadcast Digital Award nominations and adding to numerous broadcast credits including: Have I Got News For You (BBC One), The Royal Variety Performance (ITV), Channel 4’s Alternative Election Coverage, Mock The Week (BBC Two), 8 out of 10 Cats (Channel 4), Hypothetical (Dave) Rory Bremner’s Coalition Report and Rory Bremner’s Election Report (BBC Two), Question Time (BBC One), This Week (BBC One), Newsnight (BBC Two) and Daily Politics (BBC Two). He currently presents Absolute Radio’s weekly Rock ‘n’ Roll Football Show. Following this Matt wrote and voiced characters for Spitting Image (BritBox/ITV) including Boris Johnson, Keir Starmer and Donald Trump.
Matt is also the co-host of the 2022 British Podcast Award winning British Scandal with Alice Levine, telling the stories of the murkier side of the British elite, from Phone Hacking to Saville to Profumo.
His first book Politically Homeless was listed by The Sunday Times as one the Best Political Books of 2020.
Also described as “our foremost satirical stand-up” by The Sunday Times, Matt regularly plays sold-out critically acclaimed nationwide tours, including his recently wrapped Clowns To The Left of Me, Jokers To The Right.
Sean Foley is an actor, writer and director. A double Olivier Award winner and Tony nominee, his work - as lead creative on 14 West End shows: as co-writer/star; writer/director; adaptor/director; and director - has also been Olivier nominated multiple times. He has - uniquely - been personally nominated in the acting, writing and directing categories.
Theatre credits include: the Olivier nominated The Upstart Crow, (director), starring David Mitchell and Gemma Whelan; The Play What I Wrote, (co-writer/director), first major revival guest starring Tom Hiddleston, Adrian Lester, et al; ; his Olivier Award winning production of Jeeves and Wooster in Perfect Nonsense, (Duke of Yorks), starring Stephen Mangan and Matthew MacFadyen; Olivier Award nominated The Miser, (co-writer and director, Garrick Theatre), starring Griff Rhys Jones; The Painkiller, in Kenneth Branagh’s West End season, (as adaptor/director, Garrick Theatre), starring Kenneth Branagh and Rob Brydon; the 5 times Olivier nominated The Ladykillers (as director and script associate), including Best Director, Best New Play and Whatsonstage Award for Best New Comedy, Gielgud, starring Peter Capaldi; the Olivier nominated, Arturo Brachetti: Change, (as writer/director, Garrick); the Olivier Award winning Do You Come Here Often? (as co-writer and actor, Vaudeville); the Olivier Award winning The Play What I Wrote, (as co-writer and actor - further jointly nominated as Best Actor, Wyndham’s). The play was also Tony Award nominated on its Broadway transfer); the Olivier Award nominated, Ducktastic, (as co-writer and actor, Albery). The Walworth Farce, with Brendan, Domhnall and Briain Gleeson, Olympia Theatre, Dublin.
Further directing work includes: The Man In The White Suit, (as writer/director, Wyndhams), starring Stephen Mangan; The Dresser, (Duke of York’s); his RSC debut, adapting and directing Thomas Middleton’s A Mad World My Masters, (Swan Theatre, Stratford, and Barbican); Harry Hill and Steve Brown’s, I Can’t Sing! at The London Palladium, starring Cynthia Erivo; Present Laughter, The Critic, and The Real Inspector Hound, (Chichester Festival Theatre); Joe Orton’s What The Butler Saw, (Vaudeville); Ben Hur, (Watermill); Pinter’s People, (Theatre Royal, Haymarket); as writer only, his adaptation of Eugene Ionesco’s Amedee, or How To Get Rid Of It, debuted at Birmingham Rep.
Sean has also directed the live shows of leading comedians, including: Joan Rivers: A Work In Progress, (Leicester Square); Armstrong and Miller Live (UK Tour); Catherine Tate Live (UK and Australian Tour)
As co-artistic director of the right size, he created, co-wrote and starred in ten original stage comedies 1990 to 2000. The company played in over 25 countries around the world, winning many international awards.
His feature film directing debut, Mindhorn, written by and starring Julian Barratt & Simon Farnaby, was first seen at the London Film Festival and won the London Film Comedy Award for Best First Feature. TV directing includes episodes of Sky’s anthology series, Urban Myths: Marilyn and Billy, starring Gemma Arterton; and, Diana and Freddy.
Sean is the Artistic Director of Birmingham Repertory Theatre.
Avalon is a multi-award-winning talent management, television production and live promotion group with offices in London, Los Angeles and New York.
Avalon, Artist Rights Group (ARG) and The Agency represent a prolific roster of artists including comedians, actors, presenters, writers and directors. Avalon’s numerous ground-breaking returning television shows currently in production include: Not Going Out (BBC), the UK’s longest running sitcom on air; Taskmaster (Channel 4), the BAFTA-winning hit entertainment format showing in 150 countries; multi Emmy-winning, Last Week Tonight with John Oliver (HBO); The Russell Howard Hour (Sky), one of the network’s most successful entertainment show launches since 2010; Starstruck(HBO Max/BBC), a sitcom from Edinburgh Comedy Award winner Rose Matafeo; Buffering (ITV), a sitcom co-created by and starring BAFTA-winning comedian and voice of Love Island, Iain Stirling. Breeders, the comedy series starring Martin Freeman and Daisy Haggard (FX/Sky); the immediately recommissioned, The Chris & Rosie Ramsey Show (BBC); a brand-new series of the iconic comedy football show blending football fanaticism with celebrity chat, Fantasy Football League(Sky); and multiple comedy specials for Amazon Prime Video, HBO Max and Netflix.
Other landmark Avalon shows include BAFTA winning and multi Emmy nominated Catastrophe (Amazon Prime Video/Channel 4), multi BAFTA-winning TV Burp (ITV), and Workaholics (Comedy Central USA). Avalon also distributes its catalogue of programmes to over 150 countries worldwide. Avalon has produced many globally successful podcasts and is regularly at the top of the UK iTunes chart with the multi-award-winning Shagged. Married. Annoyed by Chris and Rosie Ramsey.
As a leading promoter of live comedy, Avalon produced Newman and Baddiel: Live at Wembley, the UK’s first arena comedy show; Jerry Springer: The Opera, the first West End show to win all four UK ‘Best New Musical’ awards; and has continued to produce and promote live shows globally, as well as promoting more winners and nominees of the prestigious Edinburgh Comedy Award than any other company.
For Avalon news visit Avalon and follow @avalonent
Birmingham Rep is the oldest building-based theatre company in the UK, and the forerunner of both the RSC and the National Theatre. The Rep has an unparalleled pioneering history and is the only producing theatre in the UK’s Second City. It has been at the forefront of theatre in the UK for over 100 years.
The Rep’s mission is to create artistically ambitious popular theatre - world class, for everyone. The commissioning and production of new work lies at the core of The Rep’s programme and over the last 15 years, with the company has produced more than 130 new plays.
As well as presenting over 60 productions on its three stages every year, the theatre tours its productions nationally and internationally.
The Rep’s acclaimed learning and outreach programme is one of the largest and most diverse of any arts organisation in the country. The Rep has nurtured new talent throughout its history - from Laurence Olivier and Peter Brook to its modern day youth theatre, and the ground-breaking Rep Foundry theatre-makers programme, it has offered opportunity and training for thousands of early career writers, directors, and artists.
Many of The Rep’s productions go on to have lives beyond Birmingham. Recent tours and transfers include The Play What I Wrote, Animal Farm, East is East, The Lovely Bones, Brief Encounter, Nativity! The Musical, The Government Inspector, Of Mice and Men, Anita and Me, Penguins and The King’s Speech. The theatre’s long-running production of The Snowman is celebrating its 28th anniversary as well as its 25th consecutive season at London's Peacock Theatre.