British Prime Minister, Jim Hacker’s company at Chequers are turned into Czech Hunters in Drama Soc’s adaption of coalition era stage play Yes, Prime Minister. The two hour play snowballed the updated 1980s satire to utter farce – as the PM, Jim Hacker; his Special Advisor, Claire Sutton; and Civil Servants, Sir Humphrey Appleby, and Sir Bernard Woolley, enter greater and greater chaos in an ever developing Omnishambles.
Theresa May’s outcries of “Why Can’t They Just Do Their Jobs” seem trivial through the looking glass of the Drama Soc production – with discourse that would not be out of place in The President’s Club, and a level of sobriety that would do Jean-Claude Juncker to shame.
Yes, Prime Minister questions how far British politicians will put aside their own morality to secure “National Security” in a time where energy security and financial insecurity was at the top of the UK’s agenda and the word Brexit was to date blissfully unspoken. This worlds sees politicians get down onto their knees in order to try and satisfy the needs of foreign dignitaries.
Guy Matthews’ birthday performance of Sir Humphrey did his company proud, eliciting the baffling babbling of civil service jargon with such fluidity and fluency that such patter would not look out of place in a Gilbert and Sullivan Opera. His role as Cabinet Secretary was undertaken with considerable skill and flamboyance. Zach Pierce’s Jim Hacker was a fierce and vacuous character, defined mostly by his love for drink and inability to make a decision. Jon Derrick’s Bernard Woolley was a prudish and morally conflicted character at times, the last of the pecking order in Chequers. Where as Kate Coulson played Claire Sutton, the ever corrupting Special Advisor, ever outflanking the civil service.
Jessy Roberts’ played BBC Director General, whilst URY’s Danni Boxall played BBC’s Political Editor with the skill of someone who would very much like that very same job in real life.
Somehow the play succeeded in doing what real life could not: Making the current Government seem more progressive than that of the Coalition Era. It would have done DramaSoc well to have cast Will Robinson’s hedonistic Kumranistani Ambassador to a non-white actor – the part makes light humour out of the character’s trilled R-coloured accent (spoken by Will with remarkable dictation) and camp behaviour whilst representing a muslim country. Perhaps the production and original the play relied too heavily on jingoistic blue humour, targeted at foreign citizens – shocking modern ‘politically correct’ sensibilities. Or perhaps the play does well to remind us of Westminster’s corruption and stagnancy, making a caricature of the Damian Greens, Boris Johnstons, and David Davises of British Politics.
DramaSoc’s Yes, Prime Minister was a joy to watch, and was filled with many genuine laugh out loud moments. Go see the play this weekend 19:30 at the Drama Barn. Tickets are £4 Members, £5 Non-members – get tickets on the door, or online at www.yusu.org to avoid missing out!