The Future Is Another Place marks a bit of a departure for Josie Long. Usually to be found being unrelentingly positive and enthusiastic about the most unlikely of things (half of her show last year was dedicated to a man’s collection of photographs of his breakfast), this year Long is as mad as hell and not going to take it any more.
The source of her ire is the Coalition Government, or as Long puts it, “this 1980s tribute Government”. There were hints of this new political direction in 2010’s Be Honourable, but it makes a refreshing change to see her so impassioned – in the show, Long claims that she fears this has made her a worse comedian (and constantly apologies for “ranting and too much swearing….but I fucking love swearing”), but the truth is that her new focal point has raised her up a level.
The majority of the show sees her railing against what she sees as David Cameron’s duplicity, and defending socialist values, progressive taxation and the Scandinavian model of Government. It may not seem like the most obvious subject for a comedy show, but Long imbues the show with so much passion that it’s impossible not to be swept along with it all.
There’s still room for her trademark flights of whimsical fancy – a brilliant one woman play about the Bronte family and a strangely touching song about Jedward (after hearing it, it will be impossible to look at the pair in the same way ever again). Yet it’s her tales of the personal and political that really hit home.
There’s a charming routine about her appearing on This Week and becoming reluctantly starstruck by Michael Portillo before veering off into darker territory by talking of a serious car crash last year that she thankfully emerged unscathed which propelled her on her new path to political activism. She meshes this in nicely with some more personal tales, such as her involvement with UK Uncut, her love of swimming outdoors and her fondness for Paul Simon’s album, Graceland.
Long wraps all this up with a humbling letter from Kenny Zulu Whitmore, a Black Panther activist who’s spent more than 30 years in solitary confinement on Death Row – his advice to Long is heartfelt, inspiring and uplifting: a description that could, in fact, apply very nicely to this show.