I have to admit that I was rather looking forward to last night's play, Whipping it Up, which was a find of the Boy's and a transfer from the Fringe. We'd actually tried to get tickets during the original run, but it was very much sold out after the amazing reviews and had to wait until the transfer to the West End. I couldn't really imagine a more perfect combination: my dorky politics self, my dorky politics Boy, and a political comedy set in Westminster...it had all the makings of a Yes, Minister marathon-like thing. In the end, my sides weren't splitting with laughter, but I was amused and generally glad we'd gone.
The essence of the story is that the Tories have secured a 3-seat majority in the Commons under Prime Minister Cameron. A leadership challenge masquerading as a rebellion on a Tent Poles Bill (don't ask) is keeping the whips busy, as they work to contain the threat, try and delay the vote until the PM is back in the country, unravel (create?) a sex scandal, deal with a particularly dogged journalist, and play tricks on the opposing party. I thought bits were quite inventive, until the Boy informed me at the intermission that a great number of the 'tricks' were copied out of a book written by a former Whip. Still, he was generally impressed at the play's accuracy.
The acting was excellent all around, but some of the characters did a much better job at hitting all of their punchlines and connecting with the audience. The Labour Whip, who hardly spends any time on stage, was absolutely fabulous. I was also highly amused by the little white Christmas tree (the play takes place a week before Christmas) decorated with blue glass balls and topped by a blue rosette. Nice touch. Less amusing were the elderly Tory and his deaf partner who were sitting next to me. I really didn't need every joke repeated, dears! And said Tory actually cried out at the revelation that everyone thinks that Tories are snobbish twats and take particular pleasure in their downfalls. Um, duh?
In all, it was funny. Not brilliant, but good. I'm glad we paid preview prices for seats in the back of the Stalls. I might not have been so amused at full price.
(On a side note, price is the reason we're not seeing Equus. As the Boy pointed out, we can see three shows at the National for the same price of only a half-decent ticket for nekkid Harry Potter. Shame, really, as the first night reviews were stunning. And because of his acting, not just his abs. Oh, and for this, I love the BBC. The EU Constitition will eat your BRAAAAAINS!)