Yes Prime Minister

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Yes Prime Minister

Yes Prime Minister

Posted: 25 Apr 2015

By Antony Jay & Jonathan Lynn

The People’s Theatre

23 April

With a general election around the corner (in case you hadn’t noticed), this was a well timed and suitably updated production based on the classic TV series.

Scripts from the show were razor sharp and this one was no different. Lengthy, rapid-fire ‘Sir Humphrey’ speeches encapsulating how bureaucratic language can be employed to confuse rather than communicate, take some learning, let alone delivering. On TV a slip-up can simply mean a re-take but on stage there’s no hiding place, so hats off to Roger Liddle who as Sir Humphrey was immaculate.

Sean Burnside was equally well cast as Bernard. Provided with some of the best killer one-liners, timing is everything if they’re not to be wasted and Burnside wasted nothing. I couldn’t quite imagine a prime minister with a completely shaven head (that seems to be the prerogative of football referees) so in the first few minutes Steve Hewitt was on stage as P.M. Jim Hacker I had as many reservations as many a floating voter deciding where to put their cross on 7 May. However Hewitt’s command of his role soon won me over, his quizzical expressions proving a highlight of the production.

As the special advisor Claire Sutton, Geffen Yoeli-Rimmer’s role was to glue the script together, linking passages and often effectively translating what had just been said in ‘civil-service speak’. She didn’t have the ego one associates with those chosen to advise our leaders but she certainly didn’t let the production down and neither did the supporting members of an eight strong cast who ensured ‘Yes, Prime Minister’ got my vote.

The People’s Theatre brings the best in amateur theatre to Tyneside. There’s a big and welcoming bar, a good pub next door (The Corner House) and enthusiastically welcoming staff – but not much parking.

 

Rob Mason

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