Living up to a legend?
Undoubtedly, the BBC series, Yes Minister and its sequel, Yes Prime Minister have provided us with many comic moments and fond memories. To recreate that show on stage, doing justice to those original characters yet producing something fresh is a challenge that is met with panache in this show at Theatr Clwyd. A combination of a great script and excellent delivery make this a thoroughly enjoyable evening’s entertainment.
While the script was at times complex and wordy, it captured the spirit of the original TV programme in a contemporary story that was easily understood and well communicated. It struck a balance between political satire and farce that engaged the audience throughout.
The lead actors were true to the characters portrayed in the original series yet not hidebound by them. In fact, theybrought their own persona and comic touch to bear successfully. Of particular note was Peter Forbes as Sir Humphrey whose handling of complex obfuscating sentences was an exercise in memory and diction that was passed with flying colours. Paul Bradley, who for several years has played in TV series like Eastenders and Holby City was an excellent Jim Hacker, producing a comic performance naturally,combining a shambolic ingénue and streetwise politician well. I particularly liked Sarah Earnshaw as political advisor Claire Sutton, who had a confident, relaxed charm as she outfoxed the seasoned civil servants around her.
This was not a production that had me rolling in the aisles but it will live long in the memory and had many one liners that had the audience chuckling. “We are here to serve the people, not to do what is right!’
I would recommend this play to anyone with a memory of the sitcom or who feels a frustration whenever they listen to those politicians who never know how to answer a straight question. That’s probably most of us then. It serves as a good night out and left me with a warm, feel good factor. A thoroughly worthwhile theatre experience.