Fringe Box



Stage Dragon Review: This House, At The Yvonne Arnaud Theatre

Published on: 23 May, 2018
Updated on: 24 May, 2018

By Tricia Marcotti

“Order! Order!” The words rang out and the evening began.

Written by James Graham, the play This House is hosted by the Yvonne Arnaud this week up to Saturday, May 30.

Tickets are selling fast, so for people interested in the machinations and workings of Parliament should contact the box office on 01483 440000 or book online by clicking here at the Yvonne Arnaud.

While set in the turbulent times of 1974 – 1979, the play also resonates with the circumstances found in our present-day parliament. Seen through the eyes of both the Labour and Tory Whips offices, and based on true events, the viewer is both amused and scandalised by the antics of the cast.

The set is on two levels, which is a good thing as the cast is quite large and therefore needs a lot of space to accommodate their comings and goings.

While I don’t know if Mr Graham or the directors, Jeremy Herrin and Jonathan O’Boyle, designed it specifically for this play, I saw something that I have not seen before in a play, namely, that some of the audience were placed on stage as back benchers – presumably so we could see their reactions while grappling with our own. They did have their own parts to play, as foils to the stage business of the main characters.

This House at the Yvonne Arnaud. The cast trying to catch the eye of the speaker. Photo credit Johan Persson

I found the costuming quite appropriate to the time of the play. The suits, ties, and dresses worn were delightful to see. The ties especially could grace any fancy tie day at the office – and the organisers would be spoilt for choice to pick a winner.

The wigs, I say wigs, only because no one today would have their hair coiffed in such a manner as was prevalent in the 1970s! I applaud the group that dressed and wigged the cast, for they have recreated the ensembles admirably.

For a touring play, the cast is full of actors that have been in a tremendous amount of stage, small screen, and film work. I found myself looking at the actors throughout the play and mentally saying “I’ve seen you before, but where was it?”

Then at the interval, I started to read about the actors – a eureka moment! When I took my seat again after the interval, it was like a watching the MPs doing a town walkabout. They were out in the audience, shaking hands and murmuring pleasantries as if an election had been called.

The Labour Whips: Bob Mellish (Martin Marquez), Walter Harrison (James Gaddas), Michael Cocks (Tony Turner), Joe Harper (David Hounslow) and Ann Taylor (Natalie Grady) along with the Tory Whips: Humphrey Atkins (William Chubb), Jack Weatherill (Matthew Pidgeon) and Fred Silvester (Giles Cooper) spent most of their time on stage working to keep the Houses of Parliament running!

There is one aspect to the play that I’m not sure about, however. There was a band – whose playing was excellent – but I’m not sure what it added to developing the story line.

That aside, the play is well worth watching! Contact the Yvonne Arnaud box office for tickets.


Share This Post

Leave a Comment

Please see our comments policy. All comments are moderated and may take time to appear.

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *