The Last Temptation of Boris Johnson

My nearest and dearest booked seats for us at “The Last Temptation of Boris Johnson” at the Nuffield theatre in Southampton this week.

It seems to be your type of thing

– said her nibs.

Well, as usual she was right. It very much was my type of thing.

“The Last Temptation of Boris Johnson” is a topical satire play written by Jonathan Maitland. The latter name rang a bell. Jonathan Maitland has broadcast on BBC and ITV, and wrote a play called “Dead Sheep” about the Geoffrey Howe speech which led to Margaret Thatcher’s downfall.

The play starts with a pivotal dinner in 2016, attended by Michael Gove, Sarah Vine, Marina Wheeler and Evgeny Lebedev, the publisher of the Evening Standard. It shows Johnson struggling with which article on the EU to choose from – the passionately pro-EU one, or the passionately anti-EU one?

Johnson is then haunted by Winston Churchill, Margaret Thatcher and Tony Blair, with quite a bit of Huw Edwards thrown in. The three former Prime Ministers give conflicting advice on what he should do. Once Johnson finally decides, we fast forward to 2029 and post-Brexit Britain and, finally, a surprising development which I will not reveal.

The whole thing is extremely funny and provides an excellent evening of entertainment. Maitland slings in every conceivable fact and funny thing about Boris Johnson, Michael Gove et al. The play is brilliantly acted. Will Barton plays Johnson fantastically well – it is a remarkable feat to keep up the full Boris for so long. There is Bill Champion as Michael Gove/Winston Churchill, Emma Davies as Margaret Thatcher/Sarah Vine/chief whip, Claire Lichie as Marina Wheeler/Boris’ girlfriend and Tim Wallers as Evgeny Lebedev/Tony Blair/Huw Edwards. The latter, Tim Wallers, did an absolutely fantastic Tony Blair.

The play is now touring the UK. I would thoroughly recommend going along to see it if you get the chance.

* Paul Walter is a Liberal Democrat activist. He is currently taking a break from his role as one of the Liberal Democrat Voice team. He blogs at Liberal Burblings.

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5 Comments

  • Sounds excellent. Thank you.

    By the way, there is a typo where you refer to Geoffrey Hose instead of Howe.

  • What is the real Gove doing in his department? Has he got details of what is going on but is not being scrutinised OR is he sitting in front of the telly watching Coronation Street back episodes?

  • Richard Underhill 17th Mar '20 - 11:12am

    Possibly not the last. Over three days the Times has been carrying articles about Rachel Johnson, including a large colour photo of her wearing an EU flag. She has a book out. She has two AGAs in different houses. She left the Liberal Democrats in order to stand for election to the European parliament for Change UK. She was not elected and is very open about her own political judgement.
    She reports that their family all use a short name for Boris, which is AL and that he suffered a break-in. Consequentially his passport was discovered and his name circulated. It is a matter of public record that he has been elected as MP for Henly (after Michael Heseltine) as mayor of (Greater) London and for his present constituency near Heathrow. So did he use his real name? and if not, why not? and what are the legal consequences?
    I recall that John Jeremy Durham Ashdown, widely known as Paddy, did use his real name, disliking the ‘Jeremy’. His wife commented that Durham was a family name.

    When the current PM gives a press conference he is usually accompanied by the Chief Medical Officer for England and the Chief Scientific Officer, because it is thought that the experts are more likely to be believed and their advice followed. Today, 17/3/2020, we learned on the Victoria Derbyshire Program on BBC tv that medical officers have warned the (current) PM that the number of deaths from Covid-19 is likely to be 250,000. The CMO for England did not say that when he gave evidence to the parliamentary select committee a few days ago, broadcast on the parliament channel.
    Is there a spin doctor in between the medics and the politicians? If so, who? and who appointed him/her?

  • Richard Underhill 17th Mar '20 - 11:55am

    17th Mar ’20 – 11:12am
    In earlier days an individual who disliked the tory candidate stood for election as Edward Heath, causing his supporters in the local party to walk up and down outside polling stations with placards showing the number of the official conservative candidate and the advice “Vote for the real Edward Heath”.
    Before the system was reformed to proportional representation by party list an individual in the Euro-constituency of Devon and Cornwall stood as a “Literal Democrat” and got enough votes to prevent our candidate being elected. He subsequently argued that he was literally a democrat.

  • Richard Underhill 17th Mar '20 - 12:08pm

    17th Mar ’20 – 11:12am
    Rachel Johnson has a book out. She also comments on a former Conservative MP who stood for election to the European Parliament for the Farage party. She does repeat what David Cameron said about his tennis skills, but does not give her opinion on his fruitcake comment, nor on why Cameron invited former leadership candidate John Redwood to speak at his constituency party, although a former PM had commented on “Bastards”.

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