The annual political party conference season may be the perfect time to revive James Graham’s 2008 piece ‘Tory Boyz’. We’ve been bombarded by spin over the last month or so, but this play cuts through the bullshit spoken from every angle and provides a burst of much needed fresh air.
Graham’s script, updated for the National Youth Theatre’s West End season, is a witty, intelligent and faintly acerbic look at what politics is today and what it should aspire to be.
It’s a quick-fire piece which follows Conservative researcher Sam, who is having trouble reconciling his private life as a gay man with his public political position. He’s not helped by a boss who, despite the chummy smiles, harmless digs and friendly demeanour, is quite clearly a wanker and believes that in order to get ahead in politics, Sam should keep schtum on the subject of his sexuality.
It’s a story haunted – almost literally – by the figure of a tormented Ted Heath, who may or may not have been gay, but with whom Sam becomes obsessed.
The NYT cast work hard and there’s reward in a series of performances that are well timed and very watchable. Sope Dirisu as Sam’s boss Nicholas is particularly strong, embodying a vacuousness apparent in the very worst in politics.
But the script itself – which preceeds Graham’s hit at the National Theatre ‘This House’– emerges as the triumphant element of this evening.
It’s a play that should be seen: brilliantly enjoyable, extremely poignant and remarkably relevant.
By Daisy Bowie-Sel