The much-loved 80s comedy series Yes, Prime Minister has been updated by its original writers Antony Jay and Jonathan Lynn to include references to global warming, the coalition government and Blackberrys and returns to Chichester with a new cast after two successful runs in the West End.
Fans of the Archers will enjoy seeing Graham Seed (of recently deceased Nigel fame) and the ubiquitous Michael Simkins tackle the roles of the PM and Sir Humphrey respectively, with Michael Simkins’s verbal virtuosity providing some of the biggest laughs (and applause) of the night.
Set in Chequers, on the eve of a massive deal over an oil pipeline, this production begins with plenty of tame laughs but takes a surprising and actually rather uncomfortable turn with a plotline involving an underage prostitute.
The characters’ debate over the morality of paedophilia in other countries certainly jars, especially when memories of the original TV series are of something a little more gently satirical.
Armando Ianucci’s The Thick of It covers similar ground in its depiction of the battle between civil servants and ministers, but with the eviscerating sense of humour that can get away with being politically incorrect and still keep the audience on its side. Sadly, this production fails to take flight.
Until February 4.