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A review by Vanessa Bunn for EXTRA! EXTRA!

 

 

 

 

Yes, Prime Minster

 

Michael Simkins (Sir Humphrey) and Robert Daws (Prime Minister Jim Hacker) in Yes, Prime Minister
Photo by Manuel Harlan

 

by Antony Jay and Jonathan Lynn

 

Director – Jonathan Lynn

Production Manager - Paul Hennessy

Designer – Simon Higlett

Lighting Designer - Tim Mitchell

Sound – Andrea J Cox

Costume Supervisor – Bill Butler

 

Trafalgar Studios
 
2 June – 5 September 2012

 

The audience settle themselves in front of a sumptuous set, the Prime Minister’s office at his country residence, Chequers. This will be the scene of political turmoil for the befuddled Prime Minister, Jim Hacker (Robert Daws) as, with the help of his team, he attempts to reconcile a moral and political dilemma. He must preserve British face while still managing to secure significant political and, more importantly, monetary backing from fictional, newly oil-rich Kumranistan. The need to release news of something, anything, seeming even vaguely like progress is pressing as those present attempt to diplomatically solve the problem of the foreign secretary of Kumranistan’s rather voracious request for three ladies to provide sexual entertainment. A humungous loan and a ridiculously convoluted pipeline, to bring oil from this fictional haven to Britain while avoiding Russia, are at stake.

Sam Dastor is the calm and collected Kumranistan Ambassador who settles into the situation in his pyjamas and nightgown and bemoans British uptightness while the Prime Minister has a veritable melt-down, hiding under his desk at a particular low-point. Special Policy Advisor, Clare Sutton, (Emily Bruni) is the smoothest operator in the company - ruthless and charming, she often leads the action and is the only one who sets about actually procuring, albeit unsuccessfully, at least one female to occupy the brazen Foreign Secratary. The Cabinet Secretary, Sir Humphrey Appleby (Michael Simkins) and Bernard Wooley (Clive Hayward), Hacker’s Principal Private Secretary, form the remainder of the party. Simkins impresses with determined command of his often deliberately convoluted lines while Hayard’s Bernard Wooley garners sympathy for his apparent predicament as a good man in a bad place.

Names are routinely dropped bringing the action into the current political sphere, Bono features, Berlusconi and Strauss-Khan receive honourable mentions and a pervading fear of The Daily Mail and the press in general is palpable. This production constantly questions the role of Prime Minister and who actually makes the important decisions for Britain. The company are appalled when it is discovered that Hacker accessed his own phone to arrange an appointment by himself and documentation and information is routinely concealed to provide the hapless Prime Minister with a fabricated, diluted version of events. His incessant impulses to “do something” are notably followed by appealing looks at his advisors for guidance.

Lighting and sound are particularly impressive during a storm which the Prime Minster takes to be a communication from God following some comical emergency prayers for assistance. The audience delight most at the Prime Minister’s hopeless moments and bountiful digs at the media. Yes, Prime Minister is polished, perfected and pickled in political comedy. The uncomfortably familiar relationship between politics and media, which has never been more current, is paramount to the action cementing its relevance and enhancing the plentiful comedy.

 

 

http://www.yesprimeminister.co.uk/
Box Office: 0844 871 7632
Tickets: £46.50, £26.50
Trafalgar Studios
14 Whitehall, City of Westminster, SW1A 2DY

 

 

 

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