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The Vote

  • Theatre, Off-West End
  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Recommended
  1. © Johan Persson
    © Johan Persson

    Catherine Tate and Timothy West in 'The Vote'

  2. © Manuel Harlan
    © Manuel Harlan

    Judi Dench in 'The Vote'

  3. © Manuel Harlan
    © Manuel Harlan

    Timothy West in 'The Vote'

  4. © Johan Persson
    © Johan Persson

    Mark Gatiss in 'The Vote'

  5. © Johan Persson
    © Johan Persson

    Alice Hewkin and Rita Balogun in 'The Vote'

  6. © Johan Persson
    © Johan Persson

    Bill Paterson in 'The Vote'

  7. © Johan Persson
    © Johan Persson

    Jade Anouka in 'The Vote'

  8. © Johan Persson
    © Johan Persson

    Yusra Warsama in 'The Vote'

  9. © Johan Persson
    © Johan Persson

    Paul Chahidi and Gerard Horan in 'The Vote'

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Time Out Says

4 out of 5 stars

James Graham and Josie Rourke’s ensemble polling station comedy returns for 2019 election night only

‘The Vote’ returns in reworked, recast form for one (election) night only in 2019.

At 10am on Sunday December 8, 166 tickets only will go on sale at www.thevote2019.co.uk. There will be a further release of tickets on Wednesday December 11 at noon.

This time it will star Catherine Tate, Nina Sosanya, Mark Gatiss, Michael Shaeffer, Tommy French, Hadley Fraser, Llewella Gideon, Rachel Denning, Rosalie Craig, MyAnna Buring, Aicha Kossoko, Jackie Clune, Joanna Griffin, Yusra Wursama, Rita Balogun, Paul Chahidi, Stephen Kennedy, Heather Craney, Fisayo Akinade, Bill Paterson, Eddie Arnold, Wanda Opalinska, Nicholas Burns and Lisa Caruccio Came. 

It will run 8.30pm to 10pm, with the results of the exit poll announced on stage at the end.

If you’re heading to the polls today, spare a thought for the people who hand you your ballot papers. Not only do they have to enforce a series of almost unenforcable rules – No phones! No politics! No selfies! – and deal with angry, possibly drunk members of the public, their role allows pretty much no room for human error. And smart political playwright James Graham is all over the dramatic potential. 

Graham sets his ambitious, star-saturated ‘The Vote’ in a polling station in the 90 minutes before voting finishes on Thursday May 7 2015. (Recognise that date? Haven’t voted yet? Don’t bloody forget.) As well as a short run at the Donmar, the play is being screened live on TV during the the exact time the play is set, so chances are a lot of people will see it.  

Graham and director Josie Rourke have therefore made sure ‘The Vote’ has a broad appeal. They’ve commandeered a vast cast of over 40, with names including Judi Dench, Mark Gatiss and Catherine Tate, to present a hilarious, poignant and increasingly ridiculous look at the eccentricities of our voting system and the myriad oddballs who unite to put a pencilled X on paper. It might be a little cute, but excellent performances really bring it to life. 

Gatiss is impressive at the centre of the piece, superb as calm polling officer-in-charge Steven Crosswell, who knows exactly how to do things right, but gets increasingly flustered as things go very wrong. With him is Tate as old hand Kirsty Henderson, who delivers some of Graham’s cracking one-liners beautifully – ‘Do a “Frozen”, let it go’ – and Nina Sosanya, great as Laura Williams, a nervous polling officer newbie. 

 The rest of the ensemble trundle in and out of Robert Jones’s primary school gym hall design, some with tiny parts, others with longer stage time, with each character bringing a mini narrative snapshot with them. Dench is a treat as Christine Metcalf, turning up towards the end (slightly high on painkillers after an operation) to cause chaos because her daughter has exactly the same name, while Timothy West’s confused Fred Norris – who manages to undermine the entire voting process by accidentally voting twice – is brilliantly subtle. Under the slick, energetic direction of Rourke, even the smallest character makes an impact.   

 It’s on TV tonight, so do watch it, but just don’t let this splendid comedy distract you from experiencing the real thing. 

The Vote will be broadcast live from the Donmar on More 4 at 8.25pm, Thursday 7 May

Written by
Daisy Bowie-Sell

Details

Address:
Price:
£5-£25. Runs 1hr 30min
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