‘A sharply written, sharply observed satire on the whole Brexit farce’
While the actual Brexit squabbles continue apace, the negotiations in Khan and Salinsky’s Edinburgh hit have reached wading through custard in wellingtons speed. It’s 2020 and following the departure of ‘Matron’ the affable Adam Masters (The Archers’ Timothy Bentinck) is in charge of the country. Armed with only a three piece suit and harassed but savvy adviser (Adam Astill) he has one job - stay in post longer than short-lived PM Bonar Law and if he can sort out Brexit along the way, so much the better.
But Masters has a few aces up his sleeve. Appointing obsequious Simon Cavendish (Thom Tuck) and uptight Diane Purdy (Pippa Evans) to positions of power and getting them to do his dirty work results in some very funny scenes where the PM plays them off against each other.
This is a sharply written, sharply observed satire on the whole Brexit farce that wears its own politics lightly. While most Brexit satires take a strong remain positon this play isn’t afraid to look at both sides of the story and explore a range of outcomes. Bristling with one-liners and pithy observations (Shrodinger’s Britain, anyone?) there are some serious observations within the witty dialogue.
The cast, which has had some changes from the Edinburgh run, is tight with Adam Astill particularly good as the PM’s crumpled adviser. Lucy Montgomery exudes icy cool as the European negotiator Helena Brandt, the real puppet master who is happy to wait for Britain to tie itself up in knots before going in for the kill.
Evans and Tuck are great fun as the ambitious but politically worlds apart secretaries and Bentinck pulls the story together with aplomb as he dashes between his warring sidekicks.
It’s been hard to find humour in Britain’s politics since 2016 as the politicians seem determined to write their own material but Brexit the play offers a welcome opportunity to laugh at ourselves. It could all be so much worse. That’s zugszwang.
BREXIT by Robert Khan and Tom Salinsky
Directed by Tom Salinsky
Presented by The Spontaneity Shop in association with King’s Head Theatre
Kings’ Head Theatre, Islington 30 October - 17th November 2018
Siân Rowland is a playwright and comedy writer represented by Kitson Press.