How To Be A Leader – Pulse Fringe Festival

Browse any bookshop and you’ll discover a multitude of guides on how to improve your leadership skills, how to succeed in management, and endless other guides to the ‘rules’ of business.

What about if you don’t just want to move up the office food chain but actually aim for world domination? If you are secretly planning to become the next dictator, a trip to Tim Clare’s How To Be A Leader could be a good starting point.

Poet Tim Clare uses his one man show to take us on a journey through what he sees are the six key rules for leadership. Part business PowerPoint motivational lecture, part stand up and part autobiographical, How To Be A Leader is unlikely to produce any future Richard Bransons or Nelson Mandelas but does provide a wry look at what motivates leaders and what motivates those who blindly follow them.

Clare certainly knows how to motivate people to follow him, offering crisps to those who want them or threatening water pistols to any dissent. He doesn’t need the bribery or threats, however, as the performance is engaging from the outset.

Moving through the rules, we hear of his real life experiences mixed with those of some of history’s biggest dictators and leaders. What may seem an eclectic mix provides plenty of comic material – the tales of presidential assignation attempts married with the tale of Clare’s own brush with a knife-armed heckler shows how even the darkest moments can be full of humour. There can’t be many comedy shows that include a section on former South Korean President Park Chung-hee.

Perhaps unsurprisingly most of the alleged crazed despots included are male (with the notable exception of Sarah Palin) but the finale is reserved for half a dozen female leaders. By this time however don’t expect any reverence. Instead, if you’ve ever wondered what an x-rated rapping Elizabeth I, Mother Teresa, Joan of Arc or Margaret Thatcher would sound like, now is your chance to find out. Here Clare’s poetic background comes to the fore with an impressive display of word play. Most of the lyrics are sadly not suitable for publication but the rapping Virgin Queen

‘I’ll rain flames on your Armada, You may think your tough but I’m harder’ gives a flavour of the fast-paced humour.

How To Be A Leader isn’t entirely perfect; the opening section doesn’t quite sit comfortably with the remainder and the show seems slightly overlong but with some development these minor issues can easily be resolved.

You may not come out of the show with any real career development tips; however, you will have plenty of comic material to share in the office the following day.

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