Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Conservative Theatre (Whipping it Up - New Ambasadors Theatre)

Following the glowing reviews for its run at the Bush Theatre I was looking forward to the West End transfer of Whipping it Up. Sadly the performance we saw last night fell flat.

Steve Thompson's play is set in the Government Whips office a few days before Christmas 2009. The Tories have limped back into power under David Cameron with a majority of three, and the Whips, the old school Disciplinarian Chief Whip, his Public School smoothie Deputy and their barrow boy made good junior, are having to deal with a rebellion that threatens to sink the "Tent Poles Bill" and therefore the Government. As the vote draws closer they use every trick in the book to hoodwink the Opposition and to push their rebels back into line.

I was slightly concerned that as a political obsessive I would spend the whole evening spotting mistakes, thankfully Thompson seems to have done his homework well. Unfortunately his research seems to have diverted him from the main task of a comedic playwright, writing funny jokes. Mark Kermode has a rule when reviewing films that a comedy has to make him laugh out loud five times before it is worthy of the name. Whipping it Up kept me waiting until well into the second half for my fifth laugh. And what comedy there is mainly provided by Richard Wilson's foul mouthed Chief Whip and Helen Schlesinger's hard nosed Labour Whip who are on stage for less than half the running time.

The lack of laughter means that the audience is sledge hammered by Thompson's message that the underneath the veneer of Cameron's reforms the Tories are still the bad old elitist, misogynistic and racist bunch of minor public schoolboys we all know and hate.

To be fair we saw a preview and with a bit of tightening up and a more forgiving audience than the mixture of tourists and OAPs who where in the house last night there are probably more laughs to be wrung out of the script. But still probably not enough to justify paying west end prices.


Anonymous online sports betting said...

The opening round of Six Nations fixtures certainly didn’t disappoint. We had a tense thriller (Ireland 16 – 11 Italy), a shocking upset (England 19 – 26 Wales) - which must have cost the bookies in Wales a few quid, seen as though the Welsh were massive underdogs and not to mention the Taffies like a bit of Rugby Betting UK. Then there were the brave Scots; who went down 27-6 to France. So many parts of Scotland’s game were working well and all three of the French tries came from schoolboy errors by the Scots... I hope their confidence is still in tact because they actually played really well.

4:57 pm  

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