Brexit

Robert Khan and Tom Salinsky
The Spontaneity Shop
Pleasance Courtyard
to

Three years on from the Brexit transition deal and a fractious Tory party elects Adam Masters (Timothy Bentinck) as its new leader. He’s described as the “biggest eurosceptic in the cabinet who voted remain”.

Gone is the Tory leader they refer to as matron, but the Tories still worry that government might fall into the hands of the “bearded Gandalf” of the opposition who “will set up women--only bakeries”.

No real politicians are depicted in this play but the characters and situations do seem very familiar.

Prime Minister Masters's policy is one of “frenetic inertia”, as he tries to give the impression of doing lots while doing nothing at all.

He is hounded from the right by Brexiteer Simon Cavendish (Hal Cruttenden) who writes “hard hitting essays for Country Life” and he is prodded from the left by Remainer, Diana Purdy (Pippa Evans).

Mad as it sounds, to satisfy both wings of the party, Masters puts both in the cabinet.

Meanwhile, the EU responds with incredulity to the antics of the British. EU negotiator Helena Brandt (Jo Caulfield) says they regard “Brexit as a terrible disease,” which evokes their sympathy but also “relief it hasn’t happened to” them.

When Masters angrily accuses the EU of being at its “devious best” in designing Article 50 “to crush any retreating nation”, she points out it was actually drafted by the British.

The show pokes fun at both sides in the Brexit debate, and it is the unprincipled politicians obsessed with their own advancement that are the light comedic target rather than the issue of Brexit.

It’s no surprise to find that Britain in this play heads for a state of “perpetual transition”. But to give us a taste of the stress a long-delayed exit can deliver, the performance ended fifteen minutes late which had many of us frenetically racing to our next event.

Keith Mckenna