rosie holt edfringe

Rosie Holt: That’s Politainment! review | Satire’s dead, but Holt didn’t kill it

The social-media phenomenon presents an hour of solidly-written, brilliantly performed satire – but is that enough? Here’s our That’s Politiainment! Edinburgh Fringe review.


When was the last time you watched Have I Got News for You? The BBC’s flagship satirical panel show recently concluded its 65th series and with the semi-recent axing of both The Mash Report and Mock the Week, it’s pretty much the last programme of its ilk left standing.

Ditto: scripted political comedy. It’s been a long time since The Thick of It, and even Britbox’s recent Spitting Image revival has comprehensively failed to recapture its career-destroying heyday.

Where political comedy has thrived, though, is on social media. Rosie Holt, better known as ‘Conservative MP Rosie Holt,’ has shot to national fame with a series of perfectly-calibrated sketches mocking the nodding-dog-style Conservative backbencher. After a sold-out run at the Pleasance Courtyard in 2022, Holt returns to the stage with another solo hour of satirical character comedy.

The biggest problem with that isn’t Holt’s show itself. She’s an excellent performer, and though the show’s construction sometimes lacks a bit of precision, there’re enough zingers in the hour that her skills as a comedian are hard to deny.

The problem is that, in the realm of social media, which made Holt’s name, it’s hard to make a joke that a hundred people haven’t already workshopped within minutes of a political event. In 2023 there’s a real sense that solidly-written political satire is no longer enough for a stage show written months in advance.

Still, in That’s Politianment! Holt does near-enough everything right. Her three characters (despite two of them sharing a name) are distinct and largely well-observed. Her MP persona, in particular, is so accurate you can easily see why she’s frequently confused for the real deal online, even when she’s painting Rwanda as a great location for a weekend getaway.

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Her stage presence is consistently excellent, even in the face of a slightly muted audience. Each character has their own very funny quirks, from the MP’s habit of repeating the names of the audience members she’s talking to the woke-bashing talk show host with a thesaurus-ful of synonyms for ‘left-wing.’

If That’s Politiainment! isn’t a rousing success, then, it’s hard to blame Rosie Holt. In an age of populism and post-truth, satire might just have died on its arse. Despite a rousing and energetic hour of stand-up, the show isn’t quite enough to revive it.

Rosie Holt: That’s Politainment! Is playing at the Pleasance Courtyard at 20:00 until 27 August. You can view our comprehensive guide to the entire Fringe here.

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