A View From Islington North brings together five short plays on political themes.
In a stream of expletives and a haze of anti-depressants, Mark Ravenhill’s The Mother opens the evening with an angry, touching, if occasionally affected, snippet of a story about a woman’s attempts to delay the news of her soldier son’s death.
Caryl Churchill’s Tickets Are Now On Sale is a short, snappy and devious derision of the dangers of sponsorship in art, dissolving to absurdity within five minutes.
Two plays in and not a politician in sight… But inevitably the satire gets increasingly direct.
As the title A View From Islington North refers to Holloway, Jeremy Corbyn's seat and home for over 20 years, it’s no surprise that the leader of the opposition echoes, unnamed, through Alistair Beaton’s ruefully funny The Accidental Leader. It’s sharp in its references to a party divided by a new, somewhat scruffy and rather revolutionary, leader.
Bruce Alexander leads the way as disgruntled, right-leaning back-bencher Jim, whose attempts to organise a coup are threatened by the fired up young ‘Impetus’ section of the party (plus his own technological ineptitude). Though Beaton is spot-on with the tones and back-room plotting of petty politicians, references to Tinder dates and ill-fated copulation feel cheesy.
David Hare’s Ayn Rand Takes a Stand is the richest intellectually of the satires and also the most on the nose. George Osbourne, sporting a ski tan, has reached out to his hero, Russian philosopher, free market champion and novelist Ayn (not Ann) Rand. The knives really come out when a white-faced home secretary called Teresa ineloquently attempts to explain how we Britons shouldn’t have to share our country because we ‘got here first’.
The mockery returns to anonymity with Stella Feehily’s depressingly believable How To Get Ahead In Politics. From the old boys’ network to the deliberate obtuseness about ‘macho’ objectification of women, the whole scenario feels as much hidden camera as astute satire.
Ending on a new song, penned especially for the occasion by Billy Bragg, A View From Islington North leaves you feeling, as satire should, warier about the real world but not devoid of hope.
|What||A View from Islington North, Arts Theatre review|
|Where||Arts Theatre, 6-7 Great Newport Street, London, WC2H 7JB | MAP|
|Nearest tube||Leicester Square (underground)|
18 May 16 – 02 Jul 16, 7:30 PM – 9:30 PM
|Price||£10 - £49.50|
|Website||Click here to book via Culture Whisper and See Tickets|