Under Josie Rourke, the Donmar is broadening its programme beyond revivals of classic plays, and even premieres of new work, into more experimental ground. And by the sounds of things The Vote certainly belongs in this latter camp. Taking as its subject matter the final 90 minutes of the 2015 General Election, this production will be broadest live on More4 on May 7th to coincide with the real event itself.
Theatre and television collide
The idea is intriguing, going one step further than N.T Live’s innovative screenings of theatre to cinemas around the country and worldwide; The Vote has the potential to reach an even wider audience, through being readily available from the comfort of our sofas. And the prospect of sitting at home on the evening of the 7th May, watching a fictionalised version of the national event going on all about us, is certainly surreal.
It sounds like it could be a comment on the way that we engage with politics today; Alienated? Disenfranchised? As lazy in making it to the polling station as most of us are in getting to the theatre? At its most interesting this play could pose these real questions of our engagement in public life, and ask why.
And if anyone can ensure that this TV broadcast also retains some theatricality for the live audience, Rourke can. “This is our next step in pushing the boundaries of how theatre speaks to audiences in a brave, new and popular language about the times in which we live", she told the Guardian.
The biggest Donmar cast: 50 actors take to the stage
Adding to the sheer ambition of this production is a record-breaking cast. 50 actors will fill the Donmar stage to create the comings and goings of a fictional London polling station.
And the cast list shows that this large quantity of actors has absolutely not undermined quality. Comedian Catherine Tate, Sherlock star and co-writer Mark Gatiss and national treasure Judi Dench will head this vast cast, which includes Finty Williams (Judi Dench's daughter), stars of the Donmar's stunning City of Angels, Rosalie Craig and Hadley Fraser, and the prolific stage and film actor Timothy West. The rest of the cast is filled with familiar faces from theatre and screen.
The Vote, Donmar: Ballot for tickets
Before the live More4 TV broadcast on election day, there will be a fortnight of live performances at the Donmar Warehouse. Yes, you could not bother, safe in the knowledge that everyone can tune into the show on May 7th. But this is an exciting opportunity to see this innovative show, not to mention the blockbuster cast of acting royalty, in the intimacy of the theatre.
Such is the Donmar's sizzling reputation, you always have to be whip quick to secure tickets (which regularly sell out), but this time it's a little bit different. Very appropriately, The Vote tickets were allocated through a ballot.
|What||The Vote, Donmar Warehouse|
41 Earlham Street, Seven Dials, London, WC2H 9LX | MAP
|Nearest tube||Covent Garden (underground)|
24 Apr 15 – 07 May 15, Mon-Sat 7.30pm, Thurs and Sat 2.30pm
|Website||Click here for more information|