Judging by the intensity of the coronary-inducing laughter from the Soho Theatre’s stalls, Armando Iannucci (The Thick of It, Death of Stalin) is too talented for our own good.

It is not always a good thing to describe a play as derivative, but the master satirist, along with his frequent collaborator director Patrick Marber, draws heavily on the bawdy, in-your-cod-piece world of Shakespearean theatre.

On a small platform, with props and Jacobean garb, a talented cast of five brought a merited air of irreverence to Iannucci’s outrageous mock-heroic poem, studded with caustic wit that attempts to untangle the omnishambles of the past seven years of Johnsonian politics.

Pandemonium (a word invented by Milton, meaning “the place of demons”) is also evocative of pandemic, and so features the tragic story of how Orbis (an anagram geddit?) Rex did battle “with a wet and withered bat” from Wuhan. Covid to you.Ham & High: Natasha Jayetileke in Pandemonium at Soho TheatreNatasha Jayetileke in Pandemonium at Soho Theatre (Image: Marc Brenner)

Never disrespectful about the total deaths in England which are nudging now 200k, the verse play is a joyous concoction of satire and mockery and awash with merciless insights into the hypocrisy, venality, stupidity and self-regard of those who led us in those dark times.

No attempt is made to impersonate, instead all is text and costume (including a very unsettling Suella Boverboy sporting a generalissimo uniform) with the occasional nod to mannerisms (much ruffling of blonde hair).

Over eighty hilarious minutes there is a cavalcade of grotesques: the ego-maniacal Johnson (a superb Paul Chahidi), his craven apologist Jacob Rhesus-Monkey, the sinister blind Dom’nic as a spirit who shows him his fate when he's hospitalised with Covid, Faye Castelow as the slimy and toxic Matt Hemlock, and Princess Truss. (a sensational Amalia Vitale)Ham & High: The comedy runs at Soho Theatre until January 13.The comedy runs at Soho Theatre until January 13. (Image: Marc Brenner)

Our current leader Riches Soonar is played by a knowing Natasha Jayetileke, and not forgetting Debra Gillet’s brilliant Michael Go and Dido Hardly.

The intimate space of this small, galleried theatre proves a superb venue for such a wondrous playe: us goundlings lapped up every minute of the snappy, vicious and hilarious dialogue.

Pandemonium runs at Soho Theatre until January 13.