‘That’s life, that’s politics’. Where is your red line set when it comes to Labour versus Conservative, are you in or are you out? 1974, the ruling party holds on by a thread, infighting and backbiting as Britain’s political parties battle to change the future of the nation. A commentary on politics of the past, but presented with a modern relevance and current political persuasion.
Following sell-out runs at the National Theatre and West End, this production is confronting, bracing but somehow accessible. Faced with political jargon, extreme figureheads and the spoken truth of diplomacy, James Graham makes politics both endearing and comedic. Extraordinarily prescient, the play takes on a new importance in the current political climate and has a lot to say for itself.
Immersed in the houses, we appear to experience the real thing. Through naturalistic interactions and a detailed set, we are told to believe in what we see and moreover to engage politically. Audience members placed on stage, actor audience entrances shared and an interval meet and greet with the politicians, makes the theatrical experience all too real. With suspended disbelief, we empathise with the critical movements of battling parties, the cruel tricks and games played, with the intention to win.
A conflicting chorus of MPs within the Mother of all Parliaments, are balanced with a live band, movement sequences and split level set design. We move around the composite set with the pace and punch of a well attended ballot, energising the action and giving a vitality not often associated with affairs of state. A Headlong production directed by Jeremy Herrin, This House has a clear identity. Juxtaposing the traditions of British Politics, with heightened performance dynamics. This House uses new and engaging methods to entice a generation of audience members and I leave the production ‘speaking like a true politician’. 4/5
Review written by Megan Mattravers.
This House is currently showing until Saturday 17th March 2018 at the Cambridge Arts Theatre. For more information on the production, visit here…