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Party Games | Yvonne Arnaud

Party Games is a brand-new political comedy written by Michael McManus and it follows the story of a newly elected (well, sort-of) Prime Minister (Matthew Cottle) and his team as they navigate the struggles of leading a country.

Cottle plays the clueless, yet ambitious Prime Minister John. Much like the roles Cottle is known for (most notably his role as Prince Edward in The Windsors), John is a lovable character who finds himself with too much power, not knowing what to make of it. He is funny and childish, with an underlying trait of ruthlessness, and Cottle embodies this nuance very successfully.

The Prime Minister is joined by a team of advisors, and his wife, all desperately trying to avoid a riot whilst remaining entirely faithful to their questionable leader. Krissi Bohn plays Candice, the can-do yet candid advisor, there to assist John with whatever may be required. Although her part is not necessarily a comedic role, she manages to bring a lightness to the tough discussions with her sarcastic comments, snatching a few outbursts of laughter from the audience. The same could be said about Jason Callender who played Luke, the Prime Minister’s right-hand man. His character was cleverly written, embodying the perfect combination of a funny and loyal friend, a strong leader, and a down-right fear of letting his party down.

Despite an overall supportive team, John is joined by sketchy Seth (Ryan Early), who deals with the marketing strategies, whilst also being Chief of Staff. From the beginning, his baggy clothes and altogether casual demeanour didn’t exactly inspire confidence, and that suspicion only grows as he pushes away everyone close to John.

The curtain opens on a stage set almost like a newsroom. The words ‘One Nation’ hang above the stage, with a large background of the Union Jack in multiple shades of grey. On the stage itself lies a grey bench with just a red telephone. As the show progresses, the set transforms itself into the Prime Minister’s office, with a large window hidden by one of the flag edges, a large mahogany desk, and a chandelier. At the back is a large black door, representing the famous Number 10 door, with behind it, flashes of light mimicking a paparazzi ambush. The work done by Francis O’Connor (set and costume designer) and Chris Davey (Lighting director) is simply exceptional. The TV Newsroom atmosphere created by the harsh lighting and dull background colours is the perfect metaphor for the scrutiny faced by those working with the Prime Minister.

Overall, this play is likely to become very successful. It is marketed as a ‘light-hearted yet thought-provoking political satire,’ and manages to fulfil this expectation, and then some. Anyone who manages to unironically use a fart-ball in a government meeting with the little delicacy the act itself can achieve, deserves success. Party Games runs at the Yvonne Arnaud until 11th May - for more information and tickets, you can follow the link here.


Gifted tickets in return for an honest review | photography by Craig Fuller




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