Tag Archives: theatre

A theatre of the absurd!

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It was very welcome to see a centre right chancellor acting like a centre left one.” You can tell there are few things to get excited about when you begin to quote…yourself!

This was something I said, and of course it was about Rishi Sunak, in my most recent article. And just when I thought that the operative word for me was acting, as in acting like, what does the chancellor do, he delivers millions to theatres!

So the operative word, in fact, was also centre, as in centre left. This chancellor is the most left wing since Gordon Brown! And just as we  think we are led by a chancer, we see it is the chancellor we must keep our eye on, out for the main chance!

My previous piece was an angry reflection on the awful decision to reinstate tenant evictions and benefit sanctions during the pandemic. But just as the callousness of this emerges from the DWP, so too now does the creative industries support of a billion and a half arrive from the chancellor. “The creative accounting of Rishi Sunak,” might well be the title of this chapter in the story of this man and his government. Creativity beats callousness, but as I said before, also, oh the confusion, of this government! I do prefer confusion, to callousness, but like creativity best of all!

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged and | 7 Comments

A Westminster story – realism versus idealism in coalition and love

In 2015, I was developing a play inspired by the Greek tragedy of Antigone. I was captivated by the famous scene where Antigone’s Uncle Creon tries to stop her sacrificing her life by arguing reason, compromise and a realistic view of the world. She, however, does not relent and her idealistic principles lead to her death. I both admired her brave commitment to her unique moral compass and was equally frustrated by her lack of ability to compromise and save her life. This led me to wonder; what would a modern day ‘Antigone’ look like?

A coalition government seemed like the perfect context for this character and the question; when is it right to stand up for our principles at any cost and when is it smarter to compromise? In my view, the Lib Dems were brutally and unfairly punished in 2015. Perhaps their compromises could have been smarter, but does that mean their whole collaborative approach was at fault?

Posted in The Arts | Also tagged | 11 Comments

From Peter Mannion to Roy Jenkins

The man who made us all howl with laughter in The Thick of It as Minister Peter Mannion, Roger Allam, has been cast as a real life politician. He will play Roy Jenkins in a forthcoming play about the decision by the Gang of Four Jenkins, Bill Rodgers, Shirley Williams and David Owen, to leave Labour and form the SDP. They issued the Limehouse Declaration in January 1981.

From London Theatre :

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In praise of ‘This House’

A hung parliament against the backdrop of a teetering economy. Parties divided over Europe. The cracks in the UK fuelling separatist demands. The whips are desperately trying to maintain order.

It’s not hard to see the appeal to current audiences of James Graham’s (no, not that one: this one) hit play, This House.

It’s 1974 and the corridors of Westminster ring with the sound of infighting and backbiting as Britain’s political parties battle to change the future of the nation, whatever it takes. In this hung parliament, the ruling party holds on by a thread. Votes are won and lost by one, fist fights erupt in the bars, and ill MPs are hauled in to cast their votes. It’s a time when a staggering number of politicians die, and age-old traditions and allegiances are thrown aside in the struggle for power.

And the good news is that if you haven’t had chance to see it in either of its two sell-out runs in London, then you can watch it live on a screen near you today, Thursday 16th May, as part of the excellent National Theatre Live series. Here’s the trailer:

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