I was totally spoilt last night as a lovely friend treated me to theatre and a meal as a belated birthday pressie.
We went off to the Pleasance Theatre, just round the corner from Caledonian Road tube station. The Pleasance Theatre and The George Shillibeer (the gorgeous pub below) inhabit the space that used to be the London Omnibus Company (the omnibus was created by George Shillibeer – hence the name). It’s an unexpectedly lovely space!
We went on the exact right night to see Coalition, considering the Eastleigh by-election was going on at the time!
The play starts with various news reel segments from the last election, finishing on the fact that we’re now under a coalition government (as if we hadn’t realised) and finished with “Four years later…”
Thom Tuck plays Nick Clegg – I mean Matt Cooper, Lib Dem Leader and Deputy Prime Minister whose ratings aren’t great, who doesn’t seem to have the ear of the Prime Minister any more and whose own MPs are threatening to defect. His supporters are angry that policies haven’t been going through and he doesn’t seem able to make anyone happy at all – including his wife.
Phil Jupitus is frivilously wonderful as the Rt Hon Sir Francis Whitford MP, Minister without Portfolio – a rather dandy, spat-attired, camp Tory with a penchant for eating fruit and an unnerving ability to perfectly time a text announcment of his immenent arrival.
Jo Caulfield plays the Lib Dem Chief Whip – trying to balance Whitford’s gossiping and undermining with Cooper’s frantic, almost unstable demands with what she feels is really best for her party.
With Jessica Regan as Cooper’s special advisor, these main four characters give extremely strong performances. They are almost TOO believable! I had to keep reminding myself that this is actually a work of fiction and although based loosely on current affairs, isn’t a documentary!
Most disconcerting was Thom Tuck, who many MANY times looked exactly like Nick Clegg. Scary stuff! Alistair Barrie also gave a brilliant performance as a ‘wronged’ Lib Dem who then forces a by-election…and I would really have enjoyed seeing more of him!
I highly recommend this – it’s only on til 10th March (a week on Sunday) and the tickets are just £14. If you have a chance to see it, make sure that you do. Brilliant script (which is available to buy, and I wish I had!) and brilliant performances. What more could you ask for.
Also, if you book in advance, the George Shillibeer do a special pre and post theatre deal of £10 for two courses – and although a standard pub grub offer, the quality of the food is excellent, so again I would highly recommend…but you can only get the offer if you book!