Jonathan Pie: Heroes & Villains! | Duke of York’s Theatre

I love a good old rant. Every so often in my day job, something will happen, and I will, as the saying goes, go off on one, to the amusement of my colleagues who seem to really appreciate my ranting. However, compared to certain people, I am a mere amateur in the field of ranting, as I found out when I went to the Duke of York’s Theatre to see Jonathan Pie: Heroes & Villains.
Jonathan Pie: Heroes & Villains!
For those who don’t know him, Jonathan Pie is the creation of comedian Tom Walker. The character is a BBC political journalist who has made his name, and reputation, for social media posts where, once the BBC camera is off, he starts saying exactly what he thinks – forgetting all the rules about BBC Bias. When I looked this morning, Pie had just under 250 thousand followers on Instagram and over half a million on Twitter/X, and his videos have been shared millions of times on TikTok and YouTube, and oh yes, he’s also got a radio 4 show. so, he must be doing something right.

My friend Michael, who came along with me, told me a little about Pie before we arrived as I had no idea who he was, so I was prepared for something a bit different. For those in the know, such as Michael this was an authentic slice of Pie as he first reminded us that as a BBC employee, he could not show any bias – which got some very knowing chuckles from members of the audience (probably those that, like me, watch a certain Sunday morning show) – and then he started a lecture, supposedly about getting young people out to vote – particularly the over three million eligible to vote for the first time. But then, over the space of 70 minutes or so, the lack of bias was completely forgotten as we saw Pie’s true colours. To say he’s not a fan of the current government is an understatement of biblical proportions. Pie has something to say about virtually every member of the current and former government front bench. Luckily with the political turmoil, there were a lot of MPs, ministers, and PMs to aim at. He also had much to say about the royal family, and it was here that he started to lose me if I’m honest. I felt the character was on much sturdier ground when attacking politicians – and pointing out that the current leadership were the same hedge fund managers that caused the financial crash of 2008, than having a go at the size of King Charles’ fingers which to me, just felt unnecessarily mean.

Since seeing the show, I have watched some of the social media posts and can see how well put together and acted they are. Walker has a very good knack for taking and, at times, devastating look at things and conveying his thoughts. The problem, I think, is that the format of a full show is too long. I felt there was quite a bit of repetition as we went through and whilst I love a good rant, at times it felt a bit forced. Remember, this is only my opinion seeing the character for the first time. The majority of the audience seemed to be Pie aficionados and really lapped up the production, even when Pie turned his eye on them, which for me, really didn’t work all the time. As a performance piece, it can’t be faulted. Tom Walker is an amazing, and energetic performer who really gives his all to the character, to the point you are left wondering how much of the rant is a performance and how much is him expressing himself.

All told, Jonathan Pie: Heroes and Villains was one of those shows I was glad to have seen because I’m now following the character on social media. I’m just not sure I would be up for seeing a full theatrical version again.

3 Star Review

Review by Terry Eastham

Jonathan Pie: Hero or Villain? A question often asked and one that Pie hopes to answer in his brand-new live show. Join him as he celebrates the UK’s greatest heroes (Nurses / Gary Lineker / 24-hour off license proprietors) and takes a verbal blowtorch to its villains (The Tories / Cyclists). Marvel in wonder as he kicks in The Establishment’s back doors and rifles through its kitchen cupboards.

Duke of York’s Theatre
104 St Martin’s Lane, London, United Kingdom, WC2N 4BG

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