It's a week before Christmas, and the new Tory government is facing dissent over its latest bill. With a majority of only three, the Whip's office is out in full force, and they'll stop at nothing to keep the strays in line. But they're in for a long night: boy scouts are rioting in Whitehall, the PM's golfing with the President, five Tory rebels are on the loose and the Chief Whip's playing at Santa. Could this be the beginnings of a leadership challenge?
Wilson and Bathurst are joined in the cast by Lee Ross, Nicholas Rowe, Helen Schlesinger (Best Supporting Actress in this year’s Whatsonstage.com Theatregoers’ Choice Awards for The Crucible) and Kellie Bright.
The political satire premiered in November at west London’s 100-seat Bush Theatre (See News, 12 Jul 2006), where it had an extended, sell-out pre-Christmas run and was nominated for Best New Comedy in the Whatsonstage.com Awards. In the West End, it’s directed by Tamara Harvey, after the original production by Terry Johnson, designed by Tim Shortall and presented by ACT Productions, Matthew Byam Shaw, Mark Goucher, Lee Menzies and Wimpole Theatre.
Overnight critics enjoyed the performances and much of the humour in Thompson’s comedy, but said it lacked the punch it could have delivered had the satire been that bit sharper. Some also found several of the plot twists too incredible, but all agreed the play – aided by the assured comic performances of its cast, led from the front by a curmudgeonly Richard Wilson - makes for an amusing and amiable evening’s entertainment.
- by Caroline Ansdell