Review: Nicked, by Richard Marsh, High Tide Festival, The Cut, Halesworth, May 8

Nicked, by Richard Marsh, High Tide Festival, The Cut, Halesworth, May 8

A MUSICAL about the Lib Dems may not seem the most promising idea for a general theatre audience but anyone with the slightest interest in the current political shenanigans would probably love this production.

Written by a performance poet and having many of its lines in a “rap” rhythm, the play is a comic/tragic look at the kind of behind-the-scenes wheeling and dealing which enable politics and politicians to score so lowly on the league table of public trust and respect.

An eight strong cast superbly sing, dance and act their way through an extremely up-to-date plot which starts with the 2010 General Election as Clegg and his advisers agonise over whether to get into bed with Labour or the Tories.

As history shows, the decision went to the latter and this play speculates over some of the scenes which may have taken place within the upper echelons of all three major parties.


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There are appearances for Gordon Brown, David and Samantha Cameron, William Hague, Ed Milliband and even Bruce Forsyth – “nice to deceive you, deceive you nice” the character tells Vince Cable in a satirical echo of Strictly Come Dancing.

In deed there are some great lines which capture the public perception of the coalition, including the plea to Cable by Clegg over the proposed rise in tuition fees: “You don’t have to believe in it – I just want you to vote for it.”

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All characters are played with great skill by a well drilled ensemble cast operating in a cleverly designed set which doubled up as all party headquarters, a TV studio and the threshold of Number 10.

The sound balance in this complex, “techno” performance was not quite right in the hot-house which was the auditorium of The Cut on Sunday afternoon and the presence of a well lit and animated musical conductor close to the stage was a definite distraction.

Last minute development work had taken place on this production because even the aftermath of the Alternative Vote referendum was included in the script.

Whether the play will make it to London’s West End in time to be commercially viable remains to be seen. Like a politician’s speech, it was much too long (it lasted nearly three hours) and, mainly due to a final appeal by Clegg, a bit too preachy. As they say, a week is a long time in politics. By the autumn, no-one may remember Nick Clegg or, indeed, the Lib Dems!

David Green

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