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Satire adds twist to war mania

By CNN's Jill Martin

Satire on Bush and Blair has been drawing in the crowds, its director says
Satire on Bush and Blair has been drawing in the crowds, its director says

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LONDON, England (CNN) -- A small London theatre is giving audiences something they cannot find on the city's many other stages -- an anti-war satire.

Even as newspaper headlines scream almost daily of an imminent war against Iraq, the leading current affairs story failed to reach the boards until January, with the opening of "The Madness of George Dubya or 'Strangelove Revisited.'"

Justin Butcher wrote and directed the play, which depicts an accidental U.S. nuclear attack on Iraq launched from a base in Britain.

UK Prime Minister Tony Blair frets about the consequences in between conversations about his personal real estate sales, while U.S. President George W. Bush clutches a teddy bear.

The play's success has been based on word of mouth among international theatregoers, Butcher adds.

He said: "It's proving to become something of a rallying point actually for anti-war sentiment in this country.

"The level of attention we've had, the packed houses, the very international audiences we've had -- Americans, South Africans, Israelis, Palestinians, British people -- whatever, all over have been coming in saying, 'This is fantastic, you're actually giving us a voice.'"

But not all the local response has been favourable to the show at Theatro Technis, north London.

The London listings magazine Time Out says the play feels "hastily thrown together," while the broadsheet newspaper The Guardian, which is positive for the most part, adds it is "largely a topical update of Kubrick's Dr. Strangelove."

But the anti-war comedy offers a twist for a sceptical public that is saturated with news of plans for military action against Iraq.

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