Hell Yes I'm Tough Enough, Park Theatre
PUBLISHED: 10:23 29 April 2019
© Robert Workman
An under rehearsed, patchily acted and self indulgently limp satire of the 2015 election misses an open goal to shed light on today's political meltdown
Brexit has made us forget the time when Parliament debated, legislated and governed.
Presumably playwright Ben Alderton thought that replaying the 2015 election would help us to understand 2019's political chaos by offering audiences an addition to the recent crop of witty, sharp satires on British politics.
We were badly let down.
Coyly, Alderton choses to (slightly) alter the names of the politicians and parties.
Bafflingly, even the NHS is referred to as the People's Health Service. Like so much in Hell Yes, I have no idea why.
The press blurb claimed the script was the result of “years of research and working with inside sources.”
Really? So sources suggested that Call me Dave had invited the vanquished Ed/Ned to join him on a trip to Stringfellows to
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“get some pussy and cocktails”?
That Milliband employed a hippie guru to improve his image? That womaniser Dave likes to start the morning with a quadruple snorter? That Clegg/Clogg helped frame the Tory manifesto?
The narrative is driven by one-a-minute humiliations, casual racism and full-on sexism, contrived swearing and slapstick: less in the tradition of Swift but boasting the political insight of Fraggle Rock.
Even JC gets several walk on appearances as Corbz, The Wise Janitor.
Why? Corbyn played no substantive role in the 2015 election.
One long scene sniggered about the pig's head revelation, but only a single mention of a referendum and none at all of the Tombstone of Pledges or Lynton “Dead Cat” Crosby.
2015 was full of material to work with and there is no need to make stuff up. To make matters worse the production isHell under-rehearsed, patchily acted and self-indulgent. As an end of term, am-dram jolly by the sixth form of a minor public school, it would have been great fun.
But this (optimistically labelled world premier) was performed in the heartlands of the north London chattering classes – a few minutes' walk from Corbyn Street. Like our politics, we deserve better.
Better to invest your ticket money in a Thick of It box set.