by Tom Basden
Arts Theatre London, 1st-13th March
I was reminded recently by a friend that where the Americans produced West Wing, we produced Yes Minister and where the Americans have political sincerity, we have satire. As part of this proud tradition Tom Basden has recently brought his award-winning Edinburgh festival sell-out Party to the Arts Theatre, London. Featuring a cast of up-and-coming comic actors including the incomparable Tim Key (perhaps best known for the deadpan poetic interludes in Charlie Brooker’s Screenwipe) it is the story of a hapless group of young political activists intent on changing the world for the better. Covering everything from China, sex trafficking, cycle lanes and unfair trade coffee in the surroundings of their suburban garden shed the cast of characters paint a hilarious picture of the hopelessness of middle class political idealism.
Basden's neatly written script instills new vigour into the genre of political satire and the cast live up to its pace and timing perfectly. In light of the general lack of esteem at the moment for our political masters, the scene of a bunch of putative politicians voting on when to have a break for cake seems to ring all too clearly. It is a play about small minds working on big issues, not least their name -
“Peace in the Middle East Party”
“What if there's peace?”
“Then everyone will think it was our idea”. Brilliant – go see it.