review

Hope

First published on ProgressOnline

Hope the play

Hope runs at the Royal Court, London SW1 until 10 January 2015

Actor Paul Higgins moves seamlessly from foul-mouthed and over-confident Downing Street operator in the Thick Of It to his latest role as contorted local councillor in Jack Thorne’s latest play, Hope. Always the bridesmaid and never the bride, Higgins is number two this time to cold Labour council leader Hilary (played by Stella Gonet) rather than hothead Labour apparatchik Malcolm Tucker.

The play revolves around the huge and desperate cuts that Eric Pickles and his colleagues have forced on local government. It looks at the trials and tribulations of a council having to find £22m of cuts in the coming year. All trying to do the right thing, many hours are spent trying to choose one cut over another. It all turns sour when a day centre for disabled people gets axed. Run by the ex-wife of the deputy leader, she is able to use her foot in both worlds to rally anti-austerity forces locally and nationally. The council backs down and it only gets worse. (more…)

This May Hurt a Bit

First published on ProgressOnline

This May Hurt  a BitWith a star-studded cast, This May Hurt a Bit at London’s St James’ Theatre is the perfect mix between a party political broadcast from Michael Foot’s Labour party and a Guardian reader’s dinner party.

While the actors were second to none, their script was simplistic and lacked the depth that the debate on our NHS deserves. Glib claims that ‘Nu Labour’ followed seamlessly from Thatcherism and that the coalition government’s pernicious reforms are somehow the realisation of Blair’s vision before them, betray the real truth. It is for someone else to point out the fact that it is this sloppy logic that would also say that all changes and charges in the NHS started with everyone’s favourite Labour government, the very founders of the NHS, as they imposed prescription charges in 1951.

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