22 Aug 2014

La Trashiata: satirising celebrity culture the Alison Jackson way

I’ve just had a hilarious hour on the Edinburgh fringe enjoying the latest work from the comic photographer and film director Alison Jackson, who made her name with pictures of celebrity lookalikes in compromising situation.

Only now she’s gone into opera with her first ever live show, La Trashiata, a brilliant satire of modern celebrity culture.¬† The Queen, Princes William and Harry; Kate and Pippa Middleton; Putin, Gordon Ramsay, David Beckham, Nigella Lawson and Charles Saatchi; Madonna and Lady Gaga, among others, all feature in a string of 14 famous, but rewritten, operatic arias.

A drunken Harry and his friends are entertained by a stripper; William and Kate sing to each other in the bath; Madonna and Lady Gaga fight a battle between cats; Nigella and her former husband clash on gondolas in Venice; Vladimir Putin struts about in Red Army uniform; and David Beckham plays with his golden balls.

Clips from Alison Jackson’s lookalike films are used as a backdrop, and keep the audience entertained during set changes between acts.

And the lookalikes are astonishingly authentic – much more than many of those used in Alison Jackson’s photos and films. Indeed, when I was back stage and complimented “David Beckham” on his realistic nasal tones, the actor, to my embarrassment, admitted it was his real voice.

Sadly, it is only on in Edinburgh for four days, and finishes on Sunday. But, in a new development for the fringe, La Trashiata is one of several Edinburgh¬† shows by the producer Don Boyd which are also being transmitted in Odeon cinemas and broadcast by BBC Arts. It’s also available for viewing online.

And they’re hoping eventually for a longer run elsewhere, maybe in the West End.¬† It deserves it.

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