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Review: Yes, Prime Minister at The Swan
2:31pm Wednesday 13th March 2013 in Freetime
By Ron Lamb
A BRAVURA performance from the cast of Yes, Prime Minister who put their heart and soul into entertaining an appreciative audience on opening night at Wycombe Swan theatre.
The cast got confidently into their stride and quickly fed off the positive response of the audience.
The plot swirls around a deal that will give the Brits a massive cheap loan from an oil rich former Soviet republic, but there is a steep moral and political price to be paid. This puts the Prime Minister, a tour de force performance from Michael Fenton Stevens, and his civil servant, the unctuous Sir Humphrey, played with great comic timing by Crispin Redman, in a moral dilemma.
The play works on many levels, not just as a comic satire, but also explores the vanities and self serving interests of the political elite as well as the conundrum of doing an evil for a greater good.
Should the Prime Minister allow the ambassador of the oil rich republic to hire some escort girls in order to secure this lucrative deal that will benefit the nation? How would it look for the royal helicopter to be flying in these girls to Chequers if the BBC got wind of it?
The subtleties of the characterisation mean that Jim Hacker, the Prime Minister, is not simply a caricature buffoon, but is able to wheel, deal and plot quite as well as the Machiavellian Sir Humphrey. Through all of this we feel for the very human weaknesses and dilemmas as we sometimes see them in ourselves.
The play rips along with some sparkling dialogue and is very topical, even down to mentioning a pope who has resigned. All in all, a great show and well worth a visit.
Yes, Prime Minister is at the Wycombe Swan until Saturday at 7.30pm. Tickets range from £18.50 to £30.50 from 01494 512000 or go to www.wycombeswan.co.uk