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Just days after “Ink” (his sell-out account of the machinations behind the rise of the Sun newspaper) transferred to the West End, James Graham’s rom-comish new play has joined it only yards away.

This time he’s back in the world of politics but, unlike his previous hit “This House”, he’s turned his attention to what goes on away from the capital, tracing 27 years of Labour party history and in-fighting through the fortunes of Blairite MP David and his grass roots constituency agent Joan. We first see them in the early hours of the morning after the 2017 election - when he’s hoping against diminishing hope that he’ll cling on to his seat- before travelling back through the Labour party leaderships, from Corbyn to Kinnock, when David first arrived in the unspecified Nottinghamshire constituency as its newly elected MP.   Then, after the interval, Graham reverses the process, separating each scene with projected news footage as he takes us back to the present, and filling in some gaps in their challenging relationship.

Tamsin Greig (stepping in to replace Happy Valley’s Sarah Lancashire who withdrew on medical advice) brings a no-nonsense, grass roots conviction and fine comic timing to the role of life-long supporter Jean whose experience guides Martin Freeman’s sincere, suited David (with a hidden talent for dancing) through a political career which hasn’t led where he (or his wife) hoped it would.

Director Jeremy Herrin keeps the tension between them bubbling along over the decades and, although it adds an extra dimension, you really don’t need to be familiar with the history of the Labour party to enjoy the on-going sparring between its two staunch supporters with their seemingly irreconcilable differences.

Noel Coward, St. Martin’s Lane, WC2N 4AU

Tube: Leicester Square

Until 2nd December 2017  

£10.00 - £75.00 (+ premium seats)

labouroflovetheplay.co.uk


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Theatre Review: Labour of Love
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