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Comedian Harry Hill takes aim at Tony Blair in controversial new musical production

Harry Hill presents 'TONY!'
Harry Hill presents 'TONY!' Copyright AP Photo
Copyright AP Photo
By Theo FarrantAP
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"TONY!", a new rock opera that takes a satirical look at the life of former British Prime Minister Tony Blair, has premiered at the Leicester Square Theatre in London.

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Step aside Hamilton, because there's a new rock opera in town that's sure to turn heads. 

Titled "TONY!" (The Tony Blair Rock Opera), this production is a satirical portrayal of the life of former British Prime Minister Tony Blair. 

Co-written by the irreverent comedian Harry Hill and composer Steve Brown, the show has already garnered mixed reviews from both audiences and critics. 

Some appreciate its irreverent take on politics, while others question its intentions. However, Hill and Brown are confident that they've created a one-of-a-kind experience that is simply "a great night out."

"There's a lot of very funny stuff in it, a lot of set pieces. The tunes are great and there's lots of just good jokes, I think," Hill explains. 

The show takes a satirical swipe at Blair, who started out as a peace-loving, long-haired hippy and would-be pop star, became an incredibly popular leader, but lost a vast number of his supporters when he became embroiled in the Iraq War.

"TONY!" jokes that he sold his soul when he pledged solidarity with U. S. President George W. Bush. It also pokes fun at Blair's embrace of 'Cool Britannia,' inviting rock stars like Noel and Liam Gallagher to parties at 10 Downing Street. 

Ridiculing everything and everyone

REBECCA NADEN/AFP
British Prime Minister Tony Blair (L) held a reception 30 July at No.10 Downing Street among the guests were Oasis star Noel Gallagher (R).REBECCA NADEN/AFP

The show's nine-member cast play a range of characters, from Dick Cheney to Osama bin Laden, Saddam Hussein to Princess Diana. The writers take equal aim at each of their characters, with Osama bin Laden depicted as a Groucho Marx-like figure with a group of Real Housewives in tow.

"So Osama bin Laden comes on and there is a kind of frisson of, 'Oh, where are they going to go with this?' Because people are aware that it could be tricky. But when you get it right, it's really exciting," said Hill. 

Producers of the show emphasize that neither Tony Blair nor the Tony Blair Institute have any affiliation with the show - but will the former politician and his wife Cherie come to see the show?

"They keep asking to come. I've told them no. I said, 'We're not ready for you, Tony,'" joked Hill. 

"You know, it's his 70th birthday next week - it's on the Coronation. So I'm thinking maybe we put two tickets on the door for them."

"TONY!" is currently running at the Leicester Square Theatre until May 21st and will then tour the UK, including Blair's former stomping ground of Sedgefield and for four weeks at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival.

Check out the video above for a preview of the Tony Blair Rock Opera.

Video editor • Theo Farrant

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