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It’s My Party

Theatre Workshop, Edinburgh
2 stars
Politics and theatre, when mixed right, can play a vital part in national debate. Plays about politicians on the other hand, are often tedious and sexless affairs. Such is the material writers must work with, and, in the current climate, any attempts to satirise the joke-free shenanigans of Holyrood and Westminster are doomed to failure. This is the only sliver of sympathy one has for Green Party MSP Chris Ballance, whose monologue concerning a plucky new female member’s rise and fall is spectacular solely for its obviousness.

This is a shame, because, while no Vaclav Havel, Ballance is more qualified than any of his colleagues to engage with cultural matters. Long before he moved into parliament, Ballance was an award-winning writer of considerable quirkiness. Here, alas, while some of those linguistic tics remain, they’re served up in a loosely-knitted mish-mash of insider wise-cracks that are as empty as a front-bencher’s rhetoric and even less funny.

The depiction of newly elected Iona Mackinnon does the cause no favours. As she attempts to spin her way to the top, integrity is compromised, personal and professional interests conflict and her downward spiral is inevitable. Relating her memoir for posterity over a grim 50 minutes, Iona reels off a litany of thinly-disguised real-life high hid yins who’d no doubt adore the name-check.

Played by Alis Rowena Taylor, Iona is a shrill creature unlikely to convince a selection committee, let alone an audience. Nazli Tabatai-Khatambaksh’s amateur-hour production is broken up by a series of unnecessary blackouts that have nothing to say about the play or subject. This not only puts you off politics, but, most shamefully, theatre too.

The Herald, March 23rd 2007

ends

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