Review: Yes Prime Minister, Cambridge Arts Theatre

Yes, Prime Minister, by Anthony Jay & Jonathan Lynn, Cambridge Arts Theatre, until April 28

Bang up to date and as funny as ever Yes, Prime Minister is a real treat.

Beleaguered PM Jim Hacker has much to think about - a massive oil contract, global warming, European sovereign debt, the recession, joining the Euro, various financial crises – and it all gets on top of him during a weekend at Chequers.

Machiavellian mandarin Sir Humphrey Appleby is, of course, on hand to advise, confuse and ensure the PM has all that facts that he needs to know.

With brilliant writing by Anthony Jay and Jonathan Lynn, Yes, Prime Minister is as much about exquisite word play as it is satire and farce.

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Sir Humphrey’s long tracts of verbal dexterity delight the audience as does private secretary Bernard Woolley’s unhelpful suggestions. The jokes run thick and fast.

Making a clever, and perhaps even disturbing, point about our own double standards, the hapless PM is forced to consider procuring an underage girl by means of the Royal helicopter for the foreign secretary of an oil-rich central Asian state. What price moral probity?

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Adding a touch of glamour is special policy advisor Claire Sutton highlighting the fact that since the original TV series, the ever present spin doctor is now an accepted part of British government machine.

This is a marvellous production, cleverly staged, and witty from start to finish.

James Marston

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