Yes, Prime Minister
Written by: Anthony Jaye and Jonathan Lynn, Directed by: Andrew Whyatt
Monday 9th - Saturday 14th December 2019
The UK is in crisis: debt is spiralling, unemployment is on the rise and the fragile coalition cabinet, led by Prime Minister Jim Hacker, is at breaking point. But salvation may exist in the form of a complex pipeline deal with the oil-rich country of Kumranistan that would entitle the government to a multi-trillion pound loan. When the Kumranistan Foreign Secretary makes a shocking request of Jim's Private Secretary, Bernard Woolley, moral considerations collide with the economic future of the nation. But how will Jim and his team: Bernard, Cabinet Secretary Sir Humphrey Appleby, and Special Adviser Claire Sutton, reconcile the two? Political machinations, media manipulation and an appeal for divine intervention ensue.
From the writers of the original television series Yes, Minister and Yes, Prime Minister, comes the equally sharply satirical stage version, seen at the Festival Theatre, Chichester in 2010 and the Gielgud Theatre, London, in 2011, followed by a tour in 2012.
- Jeremy Austin: Jim Hacker - Prime Minister
- Ryan England: Bernard Woolley - PPS
- Bob Rankin: Sir Humphrey Appleby - Cabinet Secretary
- Lotte Fletcher-Jonk: Claire Sutton - Special Policy Advisor
- Adam Stoddart: Kumranistan Ambassador
- Lindsay Jones: Jeremy Burnham - DG of BBC
- Lee Tilson: Simon Chester - BBC Interviewer
SceneOne Plus - Lloyd Perry
It was my very first visit to the ‘little’ theatre in Bournemouth and on a dark, cold night I very much looked forward to Bournemouth Little Theatre’s interpretation of the television classic Yes, Prime Minister.
What a topical production; although with the changing political landscape across the country I am sure that Bournemouth Little Theatre did not plan for its production to fall in such a week but the virtually sold out performance was testimony to both the popularity of the TV programme, made famous by the likes of Paul Eddington, and to the group.
I am a strong believer that to do justice to a well know television programme and translate that positively into amateur theatre you have to be bang on the money and this isn’t an easy task, particularly with this subject matter. The staging looked dated, perhaps that is what the production team were after, but I was confused as the set did not match with the modern day costume and Apple watch that one of the characters wore and referred to.
The script is not the strongest and because of that at times it felt laboured which was a shame as it was very clear a lot of work had gone into learning the lines and characterisation.
There were stand out performances from Lee Tilson as Simon Chester and Ryan England as the put upon Private Secretary to the Prime Minister, Bernard Woolley. There was also a nice performance from Bob Rankin as Sir Humphrey Appleby who had excellent characterisation, timing and tried his very best to drive the performance forward when he was in a scene.
Some of the props really did give the feel of how I would imagine Chequers to be like and that created a good atmosphere as you went into the theatre.
I cannot fault the cast, however this one was not for me but I left looking forward to visiting again one day to see a different production as I know that the reputation of the group is high. From spending some time in the bar after the show it was clear that I can look forward to seeing something special.
Yes, Prime Minister runs until 14 December.
Dorset Theatre Reviews - Lyn Richell
This play is based on the TV series Yes, Minister and then Yes, Prime Minister and written by the original team of Anthony Jay and Jonathan Lynn.
The setting is Chequers and the set design team did a super job on recreating what the Prime Minister’s Study may look like.
The sound and lighting were excellent and I was not the only member of the audience who jumped when the lightning struck.
The three small parts of Kumranistan Ambassador (Adam Stoddart), Simon Chester (Lee Tilson) and Jeremy Burnham (Lindsay Jones – who I particularly liked) were totally believable.
I thought Jeremy Austin as Jim Hacker was a little slow but I have to say it sort of suited the character he was portraying.
I loved the facial expressions of Lotte Fletcher-Jonk as Claire Sutton and her attention to detail.
Ryan England as Bernard Woolley almost stole the show with his superb characterization. I loved the telephone conversation with the BBC where he was given the stock answers by Claire.
However the outstanding part of the evening was Bob Rankin as Sir Humphrey Appleby. He was a delight to watch, every emotion clearly on his face together with his long winded replies to the Prime Ministers questions. A performance of the highest standard.
The production runs for the rest of the week until Saturday 14th December at 7.45pm.
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