TV gold Yes, Prime Minister makes it comeback in live spectacular style and reminds us what we loved about it so much.
The show’s writers, Antony Jay and Jonathan Lynn, are as bang on the money as ever, while those superb actors Simon Williams and Richard McCabe make the roles of the PM and his cabinet secretary, formerly played by the late Paul Eddington and Nigel Hawthorne, entirely their own.
Admirably topical – Hacker is hanging on by his fingernails in a coalition government with the economy in ruins – the show is nearer the knuckle than the TV version. Hacker’s only hope of staying in power is securing a lucrative pipeline project with a dodgy oil-rich country called Kumranistan. Unfortunately its foreign minister insists that the deal will only go ahead if an underage teenage prostitute is sent to his room at Chequers.
Hence, in this cultural update of the show, we are immersed in a governing world of financial crisis, the global warming debate, the baffling latter-day Byzantium of the European Union, the politics of oil and the instability of countries whose names end in ‘stan.’ The Blackberry has replaced the telephone as the main means of communication and the fear of the national press outstrips any anxieties about the Parliamentary opposition.
The moral wriggling and rising panic that Haig’s Hacker displays as he tries to persuade himself that this is the right thing to do for the country is both hilarious and a telling satire on the unscrupulousness of government.
Full of cracking one liners, the show includes wonderful material on the grandiosity of the BBC and the dangers of the tabloid press. This is a wonderful farce that pays fitting homage to the genius of its writers. Not to be missed.
Yes, Prime Minister plays at the Royal & Derngate in Northampton until Saturday. Tickets are available from the box office on 01604 624811.
By Amanda Chalmers.