REVIEW: “Yes, Prime Minister” at the Raffles Hotel, Singapore - See more at: http://sea.blouinartinfo.com/news/story/1033788/review-yes-prime-minister-at-the-raffles-hotel-singapore#sthash.2Ntbo50c.dpuf
Inspired by "Yes Minister" and "Yes, Prime Minister," the hugely popular BBC television series first broadcast in the 1980s, this stage version revives the characters to further satirize a political system that has changed little in the intervening years and in which senior civil servants pride themselves on being the true puppet masters of a consistent long-term government.
Written in 2010 the play touches on many of the issues facing a British Prime Minister (John McAndrew), holding together a razor-thin coalition while also confronting the fallout of the European debt crisis, all with the “help” of his manipulative Cabinet Secretary, Sir Humphrey (Crispin Redman), his more naïve Principal Private Secretary (Antony Eden) and a sharp Special Policy Advisor (Sasha Waddel).
Set entirely in the private study of the Prime Minister at Chequers, his official country residence, the play was written by Jonathan Lynn and Antony Jay, the original scriptwriters of the TV shows, and they had updated it to address pressures of modern 24-hour rolling news coverage and references to what were then recent newspaper headlining events, from Berlusconi’s sex parties to Murdoch papers’ phone tapping.
While the first half of the play has a torrent of witty jokes setting the scene with the mandarin obfuscating to easily outwit the PM, and lines that poke fun at the European Union, providing easy laughs for many British expats in the audience, the second half fast descends into an improbable farce, with sex jokes, religious tolerance, and global warming all thrown in the mix.
The comedy is witty and well-acted throughout, but the central plot is ultimately impeded by focusing too much on a moral dilemma that seems rather tame by the low standards and real-life foibles of many politicians, and some jokes may be lost on audience members unfamiliar with the British political system and its relationship to the European Union and the US. Furthermore, the acoustic of the Raffles Jubilee hall do not help, making it difficult at times to fully follow Sir Humphrey’s verbose litanies.
The play, produved by the British Theatre Playhouse, will certainly appeal to fans of the TV show though.
Yes, Prime Minister runs until May 18 at the Jubilee Hall, Raffles Hotel.