Election fever is all over the papers, the radio, and TV at the moment. If you’re looking for a different angle to all the journalistic analysis being thrust at you, you might like to see one of the following political plays currently running in London.
Addressing politics through theatre is nothing new. To my knowledge it’s certainly been done since at least Shakespeare’s time (Elizabeth I saw herself reflected in Henry II; no surprise that Macbeth “premiered” two years after James I came to the throne); someone with more knowledge of Greek theatre can probably tell me about the contemporary politics shining though those plays.
But here we are in 2010, looking forward to being able to have our say on 6 May. If you love politics and plays, there’s certainly a lot on offer in London to entertain you over the next few weeks. Take your pick from the following:
Counted at the Debating Chamber, County Hall, until 22 May
Currently in previews, Counted takes real people’s stories and reproduces them, verbatim, in a kind of theatrical documentary. The Look Left Look Right and Roundhouse production asks: in a country where people are more likely to vote for X-Factor than for the Prime Minister, why – considering the current wars over democracy and the economic meltdown – so many people don’t vote.
Posh at the Jerwood Theatre Downstairs at the Royal Court Theatre, until 22 May
Laura Wade’s latest play opened just last night, as the three leaders were engaged in their first televised Prime Ministerial debate. Posh is a scathing critique of the supposedly taboo issue of class warfare. In an exclusive club at Oxford University, 10 over-priviledged students, the “Riot Club” are planning a take-over. Any relevance to the Bullingdon Club is, of course, purely coincidental. Michael Coveney at WhatsOnStage thinks it’s “the play of the year so far.”
Moonfleece at Greenwich Theatre until 17 Apr
Controversially banned in Dudley, Philip Ridley’s play links far-beliefs like racism and homophobia with personal trauma. As well as referencing the rise of the BNP, it’s magical, poetic and intense: a study on brotherhood and memory as well as the political. Catch it while you can: this show only runs until Saturday night.
Stiffed!, Tabard Theatre, until 9 May
Written by the Metro’s Political Editor John Higginson and The Sun’s Whitehall Editor Clodagh Hartley, Stiffed! presents a front row seat on the expenses scandal alongside the inner workings of parliament, press, and politicians.
Newsrevue, Canal Cafe Theatre, every Thurs-Sat
Newsrevue is a fast-paced, bang-on-the-news sketch show, which has been running in London for years. It even helped the careers of Rory Bremner, Michelle Collins, Josie Lawrence and Bill Bailey. What’s less clear is whether it’ll help the careers of Brown, Cameron or Clegg in the coming weeks. Probably not, to be honest. It’ll definitely make you laugh, though.
Seen any other political theatre in London recently? Let us know in the comments below.