While last week’s tepid opener failed to prove either way whether ‘Ambassadors’ could make foreign affairs funny, it’s case closed by the end of this direly unfunny middle episode.
Tonight sees British ambassadors Keith (David Mitchell) and Neil (Robert Webb) forced to babysit a visiting prince (well played by Tom Hollander), while negotiating oil-drilling rights with the premier of their fictional Tazbekistan. Hilarity does not ensue. Aimed squarely at fans of ‘The Thick of It’, ‘Ambassadors’ delivers precisely none of the nuanced comedy and Kafka-esque scenarios.
Given the highbrow subject matter, there’s an awful lot of physical daftness, including a tiresome skit in which Hollander’s prince berates a blind person while – wait for it! – not realising he's blind. The central duo don't add much, either. It’s as if writers Rupert Walters and James Wood had hoped the ‘Peep Show’ boys would ad-lib all the funny bits, only to find out they couldn't be arsed. By the end of this, neither will you be.
Phoenix Artist Club
This legendary late-night bar and brasserie has been through something of a revamp over the last few years - all in an effort to return it to its art deco roots. Sagely they've kept the walls much the same, still festooned with headshots. Membership is required to gain entry after 9pm but if you've been to the theatre then show the guys on the door your stub and, if there's enough room, they'll let you in. And if you really like what's inside? Membership starts at £100 a year. Keep an eye out for cabaret, musical theatre open mic nights, impromptu performances and more - more often than not from West End casts (they often make a beeline for here). The restaurant serves modern-European food Tuesday-Saturday evenings from 5pm, with the kitchen headed up by Robert Kusy.
Venue says: “Seeing a show or want to make a night of it? We've got you covered! Enjoy two courses and a glass of prosecco for £17.95, Tue-Sat from 5pm.”