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“YES, PRIME MINISTER”
Yes, Prime Minister is one of those iconic TV programmes that has been made into a stage play, which I found very funny, and extremely relevant to today in all the references, which made it even more fun. The story was a little trite in some ways, but gave the cast a good opportunity for reaction and interaction.
The four main characters were very well played, and created good relationships with lots of pace.
A given for the Rep was the excellent set from Alan Goss (who also directed the play). It looked as you would imagine a room at Chequers would look, with opulent curtains and sofa – and a picture window with fancy leads, all of which encompassed the necessary action well.
The sound effects were also well-
Adam Croft played the rather naive Prime Minister Jim Hacker, and reminded me very
much of David Haig, in both his way of acting the part, and also his actions. A
very different prospect to the Paul Eddington portrayal, and one which I liked, although
at times I felt it got a little too frenetic and bordered on a John Cleese madness!
That said, I thought Adam was very good and reacted well to his staff, who we all
knew were the prime movers and shakers – a well-
Joe Butcher played the part of Sir Humphrey, and was absolutely excellent, I couldn’t fault his performance or the portrayal of the schemer. I admired the long speeches, with many unfamiliar words, obviously conceived to try and confound the Prime Minister, which tripped off Joe’s tongue as if they were second nature to him. Plus all the many and various expressions that flitted across his face when either Jim or Bernard made comments.
Bernard, Jim’s PPS was played by Alex Brewer, with good attention to detail, and a lot of bewilderment over the things he was supposed to be involved in. I loved his reaction to the Minister for Kumranistan’s request!
The other main player was Jo Croft as Claire, who was also trying to control the
PM. Again we got good expression and attention to the detail of the part -
Ralph Gough as the Ambassador for Kumranistan tended to slow the action a bit as his was a more studied delivery, but we got the essence of the old pals act going on between him and Sir Humphrey, that neither wanted to really acknowledge.
Barry Pain gave us the rather distracted Director of the BBC, Jeremy Burnham, who couldn’t believe the proposition put to him by the Prime Minister, but ended up having to condone an action he wasn’t comfortable with.
I liked Graham Read as the BBC Reporter, tasked to ask the PM difficult questions, then finding that the PM had other ideas. A small part but I liked what he did with it.
The use of the TV screen to show the news, nicely read by Christine Hobart, was good, and then the fact that it switched to the map of the proposed pipeline was really funny – and I’m sure would be some way from actuality, but also had a little truth in it judging by the way these things work!!
One thing I might have changed slightly was the angle of the chair at the front of the stage – it was very side on, which meant we could not easily see the faces of the occupants – which would have been helpful in some cases.
It was good of the Rep management to try and get more cool air into the auditorium for Act 2 – and despite the minimum of noise (which I soon became accustomed to), the actors projection ensured that everything was heard.
I think we were a good audience, there was certainly much laughter, and rueful agreement with the sometimes tongue in cheek solutions to situations offered. I was happy to sit back and enjoy myself and also laughed a lot! The content was very relevant to today, which made it even funnier.
Another excellent production overall that I thoroughly enjoyed, a very good and solid end to the Rep season. Looking forward to the new season now!
“YES, PRIME MINISTER”
review date: 15th July 2015
Little Theatre, Dunstable
Director: Alan Goss