2016 was not short on news, making it easy pickings for the Remy brothers and their 19th edition of the now famous spectacle "Be Belgian and shut up!" [French: "Sois Belge et tais-toi!"].
Can you laugh about everything? Surely not, but humour remains a way to broach sensitive subjects, which is something that the show's actors and producers excel at. Cafébabel went along to one of the performances.
An ever-growing success
Conceived in a school in Brussels, "Be Belgian and shut up!" has now become a huge public show not to be missed on the French-speaking Belgian theatre scene.
The actors portray characters from both from the political sphere and from everyday life, hilariously commenting on the news by way of sketches, impersonations and songs. Short videos have also become a part of the show in recent years.
Think back to 2016 in Belgium
The "politikones", inspired by Pokémon Go, burst onto the scene: Charles Michel, Elio di Rupo, Bart de Wever, Theo Francken and even Laurette Onkelinx, not forgetting the new characters such as Raoul Hedebouw, the spokesperson for the Worker's Party of Belgium, or the Minister for Education Marie-Martine Schyns.
Stéphanie Coerten's excellent impersonations of the former ministers J. Milquet and J. Galant have to be mentioned. The verbal jousting of all these figures even leads us to question whether politics itself has already reached a certain level of comedy.
But it's not just politics, the media isn't spared either. Will the presence of a terrorism expert (or anti-terrorism, he doesn't know either) on a televised platform really enlighten us about the threat in Belgium? And the journalist down on the ground, does he know what he's talking about? After all, they are the key people who will provide the public with the means to best understand the situation.
What about international news?
The scenes based on international news are no doubt among the most successful in the show.
The monologue of Donald Trump's character, taken from his actual campaign speeches, startles with its speed and ability to mix English and French, while deceiving the audience about the politician's true intentions.
Different political figures will try to predict the consequences of Brexit on stage. Will Harry Potter find a magical solution to this crisis? In any case, it's not going to be Nicolas Sarkozy, who has withdrawn from political life, that will bring us the answer.
The show also returns to the politico-media sitcom that is CETA, where the character of Paul Magnette presents his arguments while faced with the pressures of Angela Merkel and Jean-Claude Juncker.
All in all, "Be Belgian and shut up!" is a great distraction that focuses on the laughable side of politics and the world of media. After performances at the Saint Michel Theatre in Brussels in December, more will follow in Namur, Liège, Nivelles, Spa, Louvain-La-Neuve and Charleroi, until March 2017.