A Walk on Part: The Fall of New Labour
From: Tuesday, 15th November 2011
To: Saturday, 10 December 2011
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Chris Mullin's witty, irreverent take on contemporary politics. A Walk on Part, reflects three worlds during a time of crisis and change - the febrile political village of Westminster, the flash points of Africa he toured as a Minister and the fragile community he served as an MP.
Theo Bosanquet - 21 November 2011
With The Pitmen Painters currently playing at the Duchess, Newcastle’s Live Theatre has sent another fine production to keep it company in the capital.
Adapted from Chris Mullin’s diaries - a Peypsian insight into the New Labour years - A Walk on Part is a faithful, funny and affectionate portrait of a man who somehow kept his head while others’ were rolling all around him.
It’s a dense evening. An accompanying ‘glossary of characters’ lists over 50 names, from the usual suspects (Blair, Brown, Prescott et al) to some more surprising cameos, the Daily Mail’s Quentin Letts among them.
A cast of five, led by John Hodgkinson as Mullin, sit on two rows of chairs, Whose Line is it Anyway-style, popping up to enact scenes from the diaries with the rapid-fire speed necessary to ensure that well over a decade is covered.
This may not sound a wholly original staging techn...
Latest User Review
Gareth James - 9 December 2011:
This staging of former Labour MP & minister Chris Mullin’s diary of the period from 1997 to 2009 is surprisingly effective and entertaining. On a simple stage with six chairs in front of a 12-screen video wall, actor John Hodgkinson brilliantly narrates extracts from Mullin’s diary whilst the people he talks about – political and personal, known and unknown – step forward to briefly act out his perception of their part in his reflections. In addition to Hodgkinson’s star turn, a versatile group of four actors – Sara Powell, Tracy Gilman, Hywel Morgan and Jim Kitson - switch roles completely convincingly, showing enough of the characteristics of the known people – including Blair, Prescott & Straw - to make any ‘signposting’ unnecessary, as well as playing people we don’t know (including his kids!). What’s so clever about Michael Chaplin’s adaptation is that it tells both the personal story of Mullin’s 12 years, including his family life and visits to Africa as part of his work in the Foreign Office, but also a pretty good history (albeit with a personal spin) of the New Labour period. Mullin has a great self-deprecating humour, so it’s funny and entertaining despite the fact it’s primarily tracking a political journey. Originated at the Live Theatre in Newcastle, it’s now at Soho Theatre, though staged downstairs with table seating so you can have a tipple while you watch. Great fun, but only 3 performances left!...