The place of politics in theatre is a hot topic at the moment. However, if you want to see why it’s so important that it does have a place, go and see This House.
James Graham’s masterpiece has made it’s way from the National to the Garrick in style, with Rae Smith’s set working exquisitely with the narrative and allowing the show to be quick and captivating, which it is throughout. Do not let the running time put you off (the show is just under three hours long), because never has a show wizzed by with such flair.
It is an ensemble piece if ever I saw one, without a weak link in sight. It is hard to pick stand-out performers in a cast this strong, but I particularly enjoyed Lauren O’Neill’s portrayal of Ann Taylor and Nathaniel Parker’s Jack Weatherill. Both characters were portrayed as incredibly complex and yet ultimately likeable and funny. The entire cast should be applauded (as should genius director Jeremy Herrin) as all of their portrayals are well rounded and convincing and it is why the show never lags.
It is unsurprising, however, as James Graham’s script is an actors dream. The characters are honest and realistic and he trusts the audience to be invested enough in the story to follow, rather than spoon-feeding them. He tells the stories of these people with dignity and yet not writing anyone as a hero or a villain, which so many plays about two political parties do. He is confident enough in the writing that he doesn’t seem to feel the need to highlight parallels between politics then and now, again trusting the audience to be smart enough to make their own. It avoids cheapening the story and is so refreshing to have a writer that doesn’t assume the audience isn’t intelligent enough to follow along.
I cannot recommend this show enough. It is vibrant, exciting, intelligent and charming and I imagine it will become one of the hottest tickets in town. Phenomenal acting, direction and script, you can’t possibly go wrong.
Review by Kara Taylor Alberts
Is a political revolution coming? Will the Labour Party collapse? Can the kingdom stay united?
It’s 1974. And Westminster is about to go to war with itself. Set in the engine rooms of the House of Commons, James Graham’s This House dives deep into the secret world of the Whips who roll up their sleeves and go to often farcical lengths to influence an unruly chorus of MPs within the Mother of all Parliaments.
In an era of chaos, both hilarious and shocking, fist fights break out in the parliamentary bars, high-stake tricks and games are played, while sick or dying MPs are carried through the lobby to register their crucial votes as the government hangs by a thread.
Premiered to universal acclaim at the National Theatre in 2012, This House written by James Graham (The Vote, Privacy) and directed by Headlong Artistic Director Jeremy Herrin (People, Places and Things, Wolf Hall), gives us a timely, moving and often amusing insight into the workings of British politics.
Running Time: 2 Hours 55 Minutes
Age Restrictions: Suitable for ages 14+
Show Opened: 19th Nov 2016
Booking Until: 25th Feb 2017