Hooray for all kinds of things, Oran Mor, Glasgow

Mary Brennan


All over the world, disgruntled masses reckon their politicians are just a pack of jokers - in Iceland, that really was the case when, in 2010, Jon Gnarr became the Mayor of Reykjavik. Best known as a high-profile comedian on stage and TV, Gnarr was keenly aware of the demoralising effect the 2008 financial crisis had had on his fellow countrymen: he decided it was time for fun, and so hooray! he founded the Best Party and took to the hustings.

This is where writer and performer Sandy Nelson picks up the story in a comedy-cum-docudrama based on Gnarr's subsequent memoir. Yes, it was all meant to be done for a laugh, a deliberately zany parody of the political status quo. Manifesto promises that veered from the bizarre to the fantastical - free towels at public swimming pools and a drug-free Parliament by 2020 being two of them - were, like the party political video to Tina Turner's The Best, part of a mischievous running gag. The unintended punchline came when the votes were counted and Gnarr's Best Party topped the polls. Behind all the hilarity, however, lay serious concerns and Nelson - flanked by Rebecca Elise and Jamie Scott Gordon in a variety of quick-change roles - ensures that they are acknowledged. His ripostes to accusations that he and his compadres had no experience of being in government - his running mate Ottare Proppe's agit-pop credentials included playing in a punk band - cited the trials of every day life as a training ground beyond the ken of those bankers and ministers who had brought Iceland's economy to its knees. Many a disgruntled mass would agree.

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