Alexander Sparrow in BECOMING TRUMP

PowWow, 74 Courtenay Place (above Dakota), Wellington

15/11/2018 - 15/11/2018

Globe 2, Globe Theatre, 312 Main St, Palmerston North

10/10/2018 - 10/10/2018

Palmy Fringe 2018

Production Details

A solo comedy-horror with over 30 characters. Alexander Sparrow started playing Trump before he won the election – and he hasn’t stopped since. He’s been on TV, his shows are selling out, and his career is on the up. In the White House, Trump is battling against the world, his staff, and his wife.

When the stress kills him, Trump’s soul realises he has some unfinished business to attend to.  And who better to possess than the Southern Hemisphere’s #1 Trump impersonator?

“He’s good” — TV3
“very good” — TVNZ
“he nails it” — Prime TV

Wednesday 10th October 2018
$20 Full, $15 Concession

Alexander Sparrow in Becoming Trump 
PowWow, 74 Courtenay Place (above Dakota), Wellington
Thursday 15 November 2018
Tickets $25 on

Theatre , Solo , Comedy ,

1hr 30m (incl. 10 min interval)

Undoubted skills could better serve a bigger purpose

Review by John Smythe 16th Nov 2018

I find nothing becoming about Trump (no surprises there). But Alexander Sparrow’s prolific output is something to be reckoned with. Last month alone he treated Palmerston North to his D J Trump, De Sade, Fred from Featherston and a return season of Enigma (a spin-off from How to Pick Up Women) as well as Becoming Trump, the third of his Trump shows which began with The President and memorably played in Auckland minutes after the unthinkable happened and the much-lampooned loathsome lecher actually became the POTUS: a game changer for the world, indeed the planet, let alone Sparrow’s career.

While I am still not sure what to make of his preoccupation with sexual predators, I remain impressed by Sparrow’s feats of memory, his winning relationships with his audiences and his spontaneity amid the increasingly complex shows he has wrought – none more so than Becoming Trump.

Instead of the usual pre-show music, we hear media clips that establish of Sparrow’s fame as a Trump impersonator. ‘The Great Pretender’ sounds ideal as his play-on music – but, in the first of many twists, we discover we’re at the Fringe Bar’s Raw Meat Monday where the MC (after some totally gratuitous repartee about rectal examinations) introduces the last act of the night: D J Trump.

There is little difference in dynamic between a Trump rally and stand-up gig. What Sparrow nails especially well is Trump’s appalling treatment of those he identifies as offended by his rhetoric. We get to experience the bully syndrome and our own roles as passive observer enablers. It is also fascinating to hear how readily some women in the audience shriek with laughter at his predatory sexual ‘humour’.

But this is not Trump himself within our suspended disbelief; it’s Alexander doing his thing at the Fringe Bar. Backstage he debriefs with Angela who is thinking of doing an Oprah-as-presidential-candidate show. Suddenly we’re at a White House press briefing with Sarah who is splitting hairs with Alan of the Wall Street Journal. Then it’s Trump himself giving orders to his assistant ‘Juan’ (real name George) while having a non-conversation with Melania.

Cut to Fox & Friends then the late night TV satirists and a very angry Christian I should recognise but I don’t (the audience gives him a round of applause, though). We drop back into another Raw Meat Monday Alexander as DJT spot then it’s back to the White House with Trump and Pence, where the latter counters Trump’s outrageous assertion about Oprah with thundering scripture.

A scene between Alexander and his Mum wittily deconstructs the proceedings by acknowledging the tossing about of ideas about what might be worth putting into this show. This appealing dimension is revisited a couple of times.

While so far I am able to follow who is who, where we are and when – for which great credit is due to writer/performer Sparrow and director Katie Boyle – it still feels like we are channel-hopping while scrolling through a Facebook feed, such is the frenetic flipping between 30-odd characters, countless locations and non-linear time-frames. Or is this the dramatisation of a delirium experienced by Alexander trapped in this Trump persona and fearful of actually becoming him?

Actually he explains the ‘becoming’ thing to his Mum as what ‘The Method’ requires him to do and it becomes apparent he possessed with the idea of it. Indeed being possessed becomes a major driver and theme of well-titled work – cue gags about “entering you” and “coming inside you”.

By interval, in this longer-than-usual Sparrow and Boyle Entertainment show, the aforementioned outrageous assertion about Oprah has been characterised as true – and the short second act affirms and builds on it, in an increasingly bizarre futuristic scenario.

Without giving the show away (although this is a ‘One Night Only’ spot at PowWow, it will doubtless remain in their extensive repertoire), I have to say I get lost in the maelstrom towards the end. What has seemed like a tangled web destined to reveal itself as an insightful treatise on what it is to become possessed – specifically Alexander becoming Trump in a quest for mega fame and power – is overtaken by Oprah’s quest to become the POTUS.

Having invested so much in the ‘becoming possessed’ sequence, the highly anticipated ‘Trump is Back!’ moment fails to register dramatically. Then the fraught yet symbiotic Trump/Pence relationship – interesting but off theme – plays out as a subplot to the suddenly dominant Oprah story. In short, the ending needs work.

What we are left with, then, is another opportunity to observe and admire Alexander Sparrow’s undoubted skills – which would be appreciated even more if they were in the service of something bigger than just that.


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Impressive energy, humour, invention, vocal and body-language versatility

Review by John C Ross 11th Oct 2018

How bizarre can a play get? This is Alexander Sparrow impersonating not just one person, real or fictional, but over 30 real persons, male or female, often enough carrying both sides of their arguments with each other.

They include Trump himself, initially at his most bombastic, smug, sexually boastful, egotistical best, or worst. There’s Melania trying to get a word in edgeways, being talked down and offensively insulted; yet when she finally gets it through to him that she’s divorcing him, he goes all ‘poor-me’.

The very mention of divorce flips the normally mild Mike Pence into raving religious nutter mode. There’s a clutter of political spokespeople and media commentators – I’m told Sarah Huckabee Sanders is recognisably in the mix somewhere. 

Meanwhile over in NZ, there’s what we’re told is the failed actor turned professional Trump-impersonator, Alexander Sparrow, plus his mum, who tries to talk some sense into his silly head. Not a hope. 

Meanwhile back in the States, some seriously weird things happen, with the consequence that back in NZ the spirit of Trump enters Sparrow, who heads off to the White House, where equally weird things happen.  

Telling what they are would run into spoiler territory. What can be said is that in creating-on-stage and differentiating all these characters, Sparrow holds and entertains quite a decent-sized audience with impressive energy, humour, invention, vocal and body-language versatility. He also exhibits an astounding feat of memory in carrying all this through without a single fumble, in the same week as he’s presented four other solo shows.   

His set involves a single chair downstage centre, while lighting and sound, whether music or voice-over, play their part.


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