Culture critic Ruth Horsburgh reviews Evita, 'a treat for the eyes and ears', at the Birmingham Hippodrome.Written by Ruth Horsburgh on 21st March 2018
Preview: This House UK Tour
This House, a smash hit on the West End, is finally coming on tour around the United Kingdom
This House, a smash hit on the West End, is finally coming on tour around the United Kingdom. The play will be stopping at The Birmingham Repertory Theatre from 17-21 April and it’s really not to be missed.
At a rehearsal event, the theatres and the press were treated to a glance of what the play will look like when it is complete. Though the cast had only been rehearsing together for about three weeks, it looked like they were ready to hit the road already.
“It’s always felt like a national play even though we set it in the corridors of Westminster
‘It’s long been an ambition to take this to all of the places named in the play. It’s always felt like a national play even though we set it in the corridors of Westminster,’ said James Graham, writer of This House.
The play is a political drama set in the 1970s hung election. The characters and plot points are based on real historical episodes, and the politicians themselves have come to see the characters based on themselves in the past, even providing some real-life lines and inspiration for the script to be tweaked.
Furthermore, the scene of parliament is more of a backdrop for the drama and dynamics between characters rather than the focus of the story itself. This isn’t a play disguised to teach you the inner workings of parliament, they’re telling you a great story that just so happens to have parliament as the backdrop.
‘The play gives you just enough information that you know what’s going on. By the end of the evening, the audience feels like they’re experts,’ said Jeremy Herrin, director of This House on tour.
Even if you’re not into politics or history, this play is not for a niche audience. As a Canadian, I know next to nothing about British politics, especially from the 1970s, but it was more than easy enough for me to follow.
The director and writer of the play both stressed that this story has more relevance now than it has in previous runs. As much of the plot centres around parliament fighting tooth and nail for their goals, Brexit was brought up several times as an example of this in the modern-day.
And how exciting can it be? Seventeen parliamentarians die. How’s that for exciting?
“By the end of the evening, the audience feels like they’re experts
Furthermore, the play is a lot of fun. ‘It’s like a big night out at the theatre,’ Graham said. It should provide an opportunity to laugh — really laugh — relax, and feel excited and intelligent all at the same time.
If you liked the Oscar-nominated The Post, I would definitely recommend This House. You need to know next to nothing to understand the plot and it will have you inspired. Among other things, it takes a nostalgic look at the importance of parliament and its traditions. It shows the quirky, complex relationship between tradition and current day in Britain.
‘Some of these processes are 200, 300, 400 years old and they’re what govern our democracy,’ Graham said. ‘Some of them are quite touching. Some of them are about decency and gentlemen's agreements, as they call them. Others are just utterly, utterly bizarre and ludicrous and feel quite elitist, but here they are working together in this building and I wanted to understand that and make a play that felt light on its feet and accessible for an audience to enjoy.’
Tickets can be purchased online, and I would recommend purchasing as soon as possible — This House is sure to be a full house at the rate that they are going.
Buy tickets here.