Skip to main content

Yes, Prime Minister

Kings Theatre, Glasgow
3 stars
Something ever so slightly shocking happens towards the end of the
first act of Antony Jay and Jonathan Lynn’s updated stage version of
their 1980s political TV sit-com. One minute PM Jim Hacker, his cabinet
secretary Sir Humphrey Appleby and private secretary Bernard Wooley are
in Chequers trading decidedly old-school repartee that nevertheless
reveals them to be occupying a world filled with Blackberries, Euros,
global warming, a brand new recession and female advisers in the shape
of the formidable Claire Sutton. The next they’re considering the moral
maze that comes with the prospect of procuring an under-age prostitute
for the foreign secretary of the imaginary state of Kumranistan in
exchange for a loan.

In a show that in the brutal age personified by the far racier environs
of The Thick of It, such a lurch shows how politics has become even
nastier since the days of Thatcherism that still hang heavy over
Westminster and beyond. What follows beyond such a debate in Lynn’s
production nevertheless becomes an excuse for a silly and slightly
over-long farce involving Machiavellian manipulation of the BBC and a
suggestion that no matter how much deep water they get themselves in,
the men and women at the top will always survive.

Except, no matter how much Simon Williams’ Sir Humphrey and Richard
McCabe’s Hacker wangle their way out of the deepest of doo-doo, in an
age where politicians are being imprisoned in relation to improprieties
both sexual and monetary, as with the bankers, we need more. Or do we?
This is by all accounts the Kings’ biggest selling show this season.
Austerity chic, it seems, has yet to affect the market in nostalgia.

The Herald, March 15th 2011

ends

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Clybourne Park

Adam Smith Theatre, Kirkcaldy Four Stars
It’s a case of whoops, there goes the neighbourhood twice over in Rapture Theatre’s revival of Bruce Norris’ Pulitzer Prize-winning play, which opens in 1959 in the same Chicago suburb where Lorraine Hansberry’s drama, A Raisin in the Sun, which appeared that year, is set. Here, Robin Kingsland’s Russ and his wife Bev, played by Jackie Morrison, are preparing to move out of their now almost empty des-res following a family tragedy.
Unknown to them, the bargain basement price tag has enabled a black family to move in, with Jack Lord’s uptight Karl a self-appointed spokesperson for the entire ‘hood. Russ and Bev’s black maid Francine (Adelaide Obeng) and her husband Albert (Vinta Morgan), meanwhile, bear witness to a barrage of everyday racism. Fast forward half a century, and a white family are trying to buy the same house, albeit with a heap of proposed changes which the black couple representing the block’s now much more diverse community aren’t…

Michael Rother - Sterntaler at 40

"There's so much to do," says an uncharacteristically flustered Michael Rother. The normally unflappably beatific German guitarist, composer and former member of Neu! and Harmonia, who also had a stint in a nascent Kraftwerk, is packing for live dates in Russia and the UK, including this weekend's show at the Queen Margaret Union in Glasgow.
"It has always been my choice to take care of these things myself and not have a manager," he says. "Somehow for me the independent aspect of doing things is really important, but it has its disadvantages."
As well as playing selections from Neu! and Harmonia, the trio he formed with Dieter Moebius and Hans Joachim Roedelius of Cluster, Rother's Glasgow date will see him play a fortieth anniversary rendering of his second solo album, Sterntaler, in full. Rother will be accompanied by guitarist Franz Bargmann and drummer Hans Lampe, the latter of whose musical involvement with Rother dates back to Neu! days, …

Kieran Hurley – Mouthpiece

Things have changed since Kieran Hurley first began writing the play that would become Mouthpiece, which opens at the Traverse Theatre in Edinburgh this weekend. At the time, Hurley was, in his own words, “quite new on the scene.” As a writer and performer, he had already scored hits with Beats and Chalk Farm, two pieces that put him on the map with a new generation of theatre-makers steeped in an equally new wave of grassroots opposition that drew from the iconography of revolutions past. Where Beats looked at the politicisation of 1990s club culture, Chalk Farm, co-written with AJ Taudevin, focused on a teenage boy caught up in the 2011 London riots.
More plays followed. Some, like Heads Up used the same solo story-telling aesthetic to look at an everyday apocalypse. More recently, Square Go, written with Gary McNair, dissected toxic masculinity through a school playground fight.
All the while as Hurley developed as a writer, from new kid on the block to established provocateur, this…