It’s always a challenge to know how to entertain one’s parents on Christmas Eve. A theatre trip seems like the perfect way to keep them entertained pre the Big Day. And why not relive their past? So, a sharp comedy about the minority government of the 1970s seemed to fit the bill. Tickets were swiftly booked for This House.
This House opened at the National Theatre in 2012 to critical acclaim and sold out performances. I was lucky enough to enjoy a brilliant performance in the spring of 2013 at the National so was pleased to see the transfer to the West End.
This House begins as Edward Heath calls an election and loses and power transfers to Harold Wilson and his minority Labour government. The action is all viewed from the opposing whips offices in the Commons as they chase the votes. Seems the 1970s were a turbulent time: issues with Europe, issues of devolution in Scotland and Wales, unpopular leaders and women wanting to balance their political life with their home life. Thankfully 2016 is very different…..oh, maybe not.
Seeing This House at the National Theatre I remember a rotating set and members of the audience sat in House of Commons style seating right on the stage. The audience still manage to get on stage (and seemed to take part in some House of Commons votes!) in the Garrick but no rotating set. The pace is firmly set by the Speaker of the House keeping you abreast of which latest member of the House has died making the Labour government even more of a minority.
Whether you’re into your politics or indeed remember the events of the 1970s this is a play you simply must go and see. It’s fast, sharp and funny. I cannot recommend it enough. Especially if you have parents in town that need entertaining!
This House is playing at the Garrick until 25 February. Buy tickets online.