King’s Head Theatre
Reviewed – 1st November 2018
“a true ‘play for today,’ rooted in current political reality, spiced with delicious humour, razor sharp with insight and sparkling wit”
This satirical and hilarious look at the Brexit dilemma, two years on, is superb. It’s 2020 and a newly elected Prime Minister is taking the helm, attempting to steer the country through the convoluted Brexit morass. Nothing has happened since 2018, how will he manage to keep everyone, or even anyone, happy? It’s like a sitcom for the stage, with echos of ‘2012’, and ‘Yes Minister’, but far more biting and to the point. The Prime Minister, Adam Masters, is brilliantly played by Timothy Bentinck, better known for his many tv roles, and for being the voice of David Archer in ‘The Archers.’ His self-important, doubt ridden PM is a fantastic study of a Tory in trouble, trying to balance the different factions of his fractured party, and deliver something. Anything really. And to stay in office for longer than Andrew Bonar Law’s two hundred and eleven days.
There are some brilliant one liners, ‘You may have a triple first in sycophancy and beef wellington but that doesn’t give you the right….’ says Pippa Evans’ Diana Purdy, a ‘soft Brexit Tory,’ to Thom Tuck’s horribly oily, Rees Mogg like Simon Cavendish. Diana again, this time to the PM, ‘You can’t continue to govern over Schrodinger’s Brexit.’ Evans and Tuck are on opposing sides of the hard/soft Brexit divide, could they work together? Ultimately it’s all about power. And the man behind the power of the Prime Minister, and his election, is Campaign Manager and Chief Political Advisor, Paul Connell. Adam Astill plays him beautifully as a put upon, hard working power broker, who would prefer to stay on the sidelines. The Machiavellian power behind the throne. The final character is Lucy Montgomery’s, effortlessly in control, Helena Brandt, the chief EU negotiator. She is the epitome of elegance and understated power, that word again. The cast don’t put a foot wrong.
This play is much more than the one liners. The writing is pitch perfect. The creative team of Robert Khan and Tom Salinsky have given us a true ‘play for today,’ rooted in current political reality, spiced with delicious humour, razor sharp with insight and sparkling wit. Salinsky also directs, using the simple set with an economy that works really well. Credit must also go to Nicholas Holdridge and Jamie Robertson for the lighting, music and sound design.
If you can get a ticket do go and see this. It’s well worth it, and it’s a relief to actually be able to laugh when Brexit is mentioned, rather than sigh with despair!
Reviewed by Katre
Photography by Steve Ullathorne
King’s Head Theatre until 17th November