Theatre review: Coalition at the Pleasance Theatre

PUBLISHED: 11:35 25 February 2013 | UPDATED: 15:01 25 February 2013

Thom Tuck as Matt Cooper in Coalition at the Pleasance. Picture: Idil Sukan

Thom Tuck as Matt Cooper in Coalition at the Pleasance. Picture: Idil Sukan


Entertaining satire on last days of coalition government has quick-fire dialogue and laughs aplenty

Coalition, a political comedy co-written by an Islington councillor, previewed at the Pleasance last year before a successful Edinburgh run – and anyone with a taste for satire will be pleased to see its return.

It takes place in an all-too-familiar setting, a Britain run by a Tory-Lib Dem government.

It is early 2015 and the coalition has only a few months left to run, the Conservative Prime Minister and his Lib Dem Deputy haven’t spoken for months, the economy has flat-lined and MPs are threatening to defect right, left and centre.

Hapless Lib Dem leader Matt Cooper (Thom Tuck) has to make a series of last, desperate gambles to save the party he loves.

It is clear that Nick Clegg was the principal inspiration for the show. His Tory counterpart is barely mentioned, so all the laughs come from the Lib Dem side of things (an easy target you might say) – and the laughs are aplenty.

Writers Tom Salinsky and Robert Khan clearly know their stuff – Khan has worked within politics for a decade and is currently an Islington councillor in Bunhill ward – and this comes across in the knowing dialogue.

Tuck is spot on as the struggling Cooper, squirming and scheming in a desperate attempt to hang on to power. Jessica Regan is great as the common sense advisor who doesn’t get listened to as often as she should.

Comedian Phill Jupitus, of Never Mind the Buzzcocks fame, is delightful as camped up Tory stalwart Sir Francis Whitford, a Machivellian Peter Mandelson character. Jo Caulfield is the frustrated Chief Whip, with some biting putdowns.

Fantastic performances all round from actors who do justice to the quick-fire dialogue.

This is a must see performance on a subject all too close to home. A great evening’s entertainment.

* Coalition is at the Pleasance Theatre in Carpenters Mews, Holloway, until March 10. Box office: 020 7609 1800.

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