A View from Islington North

Theatre, Drama
4 out of 5 stars
 (© Robert Workman)
© Robert WorkmanAyn Rand Takes A Stand - Ann Mitchell
 (© Robert Workman)
© Robert WorkmanAyn Rand Takes A Stand - Ann Mitchell, Steve John Shepherd
 (© Robert Workman)
© Robert WorkmanHow to get ahead in Politics - Joseph Prowen
 (© Robert Workman)
© Robert WorkmanHow to get ahead in Politics - Joseph Prowen, Bruce Alexander
 (© Robert Workman)
© Robert WorkmanThe Accidental Leader - Joseph Prowen, Bruce Alexander
 (© Robert Workman)
© Robert WorkmanThe Accidental Leader - Sarah Alexander & Joseph Prowen
 (© Robert Workman)
© Robert WorkmanThe Mother - Joseph Prowen, Sarah Alexander, Jane Wymark
 (© Robert Workman)
© Robert WorkmanThe Mother - Sarah Alexander
 (© Robert Workman)
© Robert WorkmanTickets are now on sale - Seve John Shepherd, Sarah Alexander
 (© Robert Workman)
© Robert WorkmanTickets are now on sale - Seve John Shepherd, Sarah Alexander

Time Out says

4 out of 5 stars

An inventive evening of political satire

Now, this’ll light a fire in your belly. There’s something refreshingly old-school about this – five short political satires, including a premiere by David Hare, brought together by touring theatre company Out of Joint into a punchy evening of unabashedly left-wing railing against a Tory-run Britain. 

Max Stafford-Clark’s production comes out swinging with Mark Ravenhill’s ‘The Mother’, in which a ferocious, expletive-spewing Sarah Alexander deafens any attempt to inform her of her army son’s death. It’s a fuck-filled snapshot of a TV-deadened, hope-drained Britain, if ultimately overwrought. 

Meanwhile, Caryl Churchill’s elegantly clever two-hander, ‘Tickets are Now on Sale’, elides the language of a couple in trouble with corporate speak, buzzwords and shiny international politics, until we’re left with incomprehensibility and an inane grin plastered across global chasms. 

Given that the title of the show alludes to Jeremy Corbyn’s constituency, it’s no surprise that he looms (although unnamed) over ‘The Accidental Leader’, Alistair Beaton’s farce-paced, funny new tale of an attempted coup that unravels as a leak-filled digital age defeats its backroom architects. 

David Hare’s ‘Ayn Rand Takes a Stand’ shoves George Osborne and Theresa May into a room with the scary (and dead) Russian novelist, debating oranges and the free market. The clever-clever surrealism of Hare’s conceit tires, but it’s worth it for Ann Mitchell’s gloriously batty performance as Rand. 

If Rand’s defence of free movement of migrants is the right thing for awful reasons, Stella Feehily’s ‘How To Get Ahead In Politics’ is no less depressing. The firing of Steven John Shepherd’s MP for supporting a sexually-harassing candidate is motivated by party politics, not principle. 

Subtlety is not a watchword here – and the plays work better collectively than separately. But by the time the superb ensemble start singing staunch activist Billy Bragg’s ‘The Company’, a warning against giving in to the bad guys, don’t be surprised if you want to change the world

By: Tom Wicker



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