GT Stage

Review: Coalition

We can do high-brow theatre, too, you know

Turn your minds forward to 2014. There's been four years of a Lib Dem/Tory government, there's a floundering Deputy PM agreeing with things he once claimed to vehemently disagree with, and the whole thing is expected to crash and burn come a general election.

No, this isn't a pre-emptive biog of Nick Clegg's political career, but the invention of two London writers about a 'fictitious' coalition government.  Lib Dem leader, Matt Cooper, is facing a personal breakdown, and his party is on the edge of obliteration. He screams, shouts, panics and cries a little, but still nobody listens to him.

Meanwhile an over-zealous, effortlessly camp Tory Chief Whip (that's like an MPs line manager, not a kinky thing… you're filth), played by Never Mind The Buzzcocks comic Phil Jupitus, taunts and tantalises his Tory colleagues into jeopardy. Jupitus' character, Sir Francis Whitford - a man who matches his socks with his handkerchief - does seem to reference a wife, despite baring an uncanny resemblance to Christopher Biggins. It's hard to believe there could be a pompously aggresive Tory MP in the closet, but the play attempts to pull such a situation off. 

Fans of The Thick Of It will no doubt be attracted to Pleasance theatre's politico offering. Though Coalition isn't as ridden with the foul-mouthed orgasms of Malcolm Tucker, it does offer an alluringly amusing insight into the world of a broken politician. One which both works because of how akin to reality it is, and also doesn't work because of its extensive Westminster bubble in-jokiness.

But with jokes like, ""the truth about the Tory party is that they stand on a platform of 'government doesn't work', then get elected to prove it", you're guaranteed a good laugh.


Coalition is on at the Pleasance Theatre, Islington, until 10 March. You can get tickets at

Follow Benjamin on Twitter@benjaminbutter

Words: Benjamin Butterworth

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