Kingmaker

Robert Khan and Tom Sailinsky

Jason Smith and the Spontaneity Shop

Pleasance Courtyard

From 30 July 2014 to 25 August 2014

Rating: ***

Review by Philip Fisher

Kingmaker is a piece of high class (in the circumstances, perhaps that should be upper class) political soap opera from the team behind Coalition.

It will sell well, partly because the public revels in parliamentary skullduggery but more since they might divine parallels between the protagonist, Alan Cox's Max Newman and a real, living politician who might just be our Prime Minister in the next few years.

Newman, aptly described as "a teddy bear crossed with a serial killer", is currently Mayor of London but has aspirations to return to parliament as a Tory MP, Minister and PM in short order.

The drama takes place in a dungeon beneath Westminster where are gathered, the teddy bear, his baby-faced opponent, Laurence Dobiesz as Dan Regan and a shrewd female MP, Eleanor Hopkirk played by Joanna Bending.

The purpose of the meeting is unclear to the two men until Ms Hopkirk announces her intention to blackmail the serial killer.

Given his appellation, the outcome is never in doubt but might still depress anybody with a long enough memory to recall when politics was an honourable sport.

Hannah Eidenow directs her cast capably, with Alan Cox achieving dual successes in playing his character while creating the aura of another even more familiar figure.

As such, Kingmaker is amusing and hits its targets without ever moving out of second gear.

One point that the creative ream should consider as a matter of urgency is the blinding lighting which prevents those sitting in the wings of the thrust from watching the actors while they are speaking.