After first encountering character actor Alexander Sparrow do his Trump impersonation on very same night that Trump won the 2016 election, Tim George went to Garnet station to check out two of Sparrow’s latest shows: DJ Trump and De Sade.
I’ve always wanted to be roasted by a comedian. I never thought it would be by Donald Trump.
Reprising his role from The President Tour, Alexander Sparrow takes Trump (and the audience) on a deranged journey through the rotted swampland of his brain. Switching between a campaign rally and an internal monologue, Sparrow makes a valiant attempt to expand and flesh out his subject.
Watching this show really brought home how hard it is to tackle a character like Trump. With his never-ending sentences, lack of internal blocks and rapid mood swings (forever recorded in his Twitter feed), it often feels like there is nothing to learn. His behaviour is so predictable and so relentlessly repetitive, his five month old presidency feels more like 15 years. But that’s just me.
Kudos to Sparrow. He’s in a no-win situation, but just like Trump he proves that if you talk, gesticulate and attack constantly, you will win.
The most original aspect of the show are Sparrow’s attempts to reveal Trump’s inner self. Like his subject, Sparrow has to work very hard to pull off this conceit. Throwing in incest, the KKK, his signature hair and his dad’s fake teeth, it is a testament to how wild the real Trump is that most of this stuff feels pretty par for the course.
Intentional or not, Sparrow’s oscillation between Trump’s bellicose public face, and his more introspective self (pause for derisive laughter) is surprisingly faithful in its building sense of unease, unintentional black comedy and exhaustion.
It is very funny, and a solid Cliff Notes rundown of Trumpedia. If you’re still in the mood for the Cheeto Jesus, it’s worth checking out. Just make sure you have a few stiff drinks beforehand.
[Free your Mind… and your Ass will Follow]
Another one-man show from Sparrow, De Sade offers an extremely intimate audience with the master libertine, the Marquis De Sade.
In contrast to the extremely repressed and infantile Donald Trump, De Sade’s provocations do not come from ego and fear – they come from a genuine (thought highly idiosyncratic) desire to release his audience from the expectations and restraints that society has imposed upon them.
Whereas Trump seeks to turn back time and build walls (pause for easy laugh), De Sade’s goal is the opposite.
Trapped by a world of arbitrary limitations on sexual freedom, he provokes the audience to expand their boundaries. What he is advocating goes beyond breaking the artificial barriers that society imposes on sexuality. What he advocates is the freedom to explore all avenues of human thought and experience.
Cannily, Sparrow sets his play in 1789, in a France that is throwing off the shackles of the Ancien Régime. Even while the French Revolution is destroying the old order, De Sade laments the rise of a new one, one with its own self-imposed limits and taboos.
While it is as funny as DJ Trump, De Sade is more solidly constructed, and more thematically meaty. It helps that the central character has been dead for centuries, which allows Sparrow more room to sculpt out a show without having to conform to certain expectations.
Definitely worth checking out.
The Alexander Sparrow Quadruple Bill plays at Garnet Station until 25 June. For more, see AlexanderSparrow.com