Review - Tom and Bunny Save the World (UK Tour)

After running into each other in the midst of an ensuing zombie apocalypse, Tom and Bunny Save the World's titular duo band together and embark on a riotous road trip from London all the way up to Yorkshire, an apparent safe zone. Tom's a nerdy Tom Trumps enthusiast, whilst Bunny's a boisterous teacher trying to deal with the guilt of sleeping with her girlfriend's dad. Tom's packed a survival kit, Bunny's packed a baseball bat in a sling. As an apocalypse facing team, they're a bit of an odd match, but that's what makes them such perfect heroes in this very 2018 zombie epic from Fat Rascal Theatre.

Zombie pop culture aficionados, will notice plenty of lovingly borrowed plot points from some of the the most well known properties of the 2000s slipped seamlessly into this kooky hour long supernatural extravaganza. It borrows its zombie epidemic origin story from 28 Days Later, there's a hunt for a cure a la the first season of The Walking DeadZombieland's survival tips are reworded (panic stricken public are advised "never assume your zed is dead", a tip which anyone in an end-of-the-world situation would do well to remember), and of course, the humour and bizarreness of the definitive zom-com, Shaun of the Dead, is at the heart of the piece.

As the musical comedy's eponymous survivor, Robyn Grant is hilarious and totally believable, with her carpe diem attitude and no nonsense survival plan. Grant, who is also responsible for Tom and Bunny Save the World's laugh a minute book and lyrics, is undoubtedly one to watch, with a killer voice and whip smart comedic timing perfectly suited for musical comedy. Jamie Mawson is equally entertaining as Bunny's fumbling foil. With his priceless expressions and equally skillful vocals, the audience will be rooting for Tom despite his obvious ineptitude. 

But they're not alone on their quest. Tom and Bunny are joined by farmhand Gareth, a vet and fellow northerner who Bunny takes an immediate shine too, as well as Pearl, a pregnant science professor, and Kai, a gruff military figure with a mysterious past. And watching from a secret facility somewhere in Scotland is Mike, a man charged with nuking the country if things get too out of hand. Dramatic stuff!
The cast of six work tirelessly from beginning to end, propelling the rollicking story forward at breakneck pace, multi roling a bunch of brilliant characters which affectionately mock the UK's regional stereotypes, and singing along as they go. It must be said that while the songs are cleverly written and masterfully performed, there's no real earworm for the audience to hum on their way out, but they're all serviceable numbers and encapsulate the frantic pace of the story very well

Based on their previous productions, if there's one thing Fat Rascal Theatre excels at especially well it's injecting truly hilarious comedic situations with apt social commentary, and Tom and Bunny Save the World is no exception. The musical comments on the very real class divide which is always making headlines, and is at the forefront of many minds at this particularly politically rocky time, but still manages to deliver plenty of oddball humour to keep the tone light throughout.

There's never a dull scene in Tom and Bunny Save the World. Even one of the musical's most gasp inducing moments, when Luke Dunford's Gareth reveals that he has been bitten by a zombie and doomed to a fate worse than death, also doubles as one of its funniest. The image of Gareth's limbs twitching as he bemoans Bunny's rejection of his romantic advances whilst transforming into a brain eater is one of the musical's most uproarious moments.

The musical's ending arrives quite abruptly, teasing its audience with an intriguing cliffhanger which cries out for a sequel. Tom and Bunny Save the World provides unrelenting mayhem and brilliant fun, delivered by an enthusiastic cast of comedians who never miss a beat. For sharp musical comedy, you can't do much better than this!

Interview - Sir Richard Stilgoe (The Orpheus Centre)

‘There's nothing more uniting than stage fright.’ 

Songwriter and musician Sir Richard Stilgoe, perhaps best known for his collaborations with Andrew Lloyd Webber on Starlight Express, Cats and The Phantom of the Opera, is talking to me about The Orpheus Centre, an independent specialist college for young disabled adults with a passion for the performing arts. The Orpheus Centre was founded by Stilgoe in 1997. Having started with just 5 full time students all those 20 years ago, the school is now attended by up to 28 full time students, as well as around 20 day students, each of whom attend the school for 3 year and learn life skills such as cooking and budget management, in addition to developing their pre-existing enthusiasm for the arts. 

Sir Richard Stilgoe and students at The Orpheus Centre
This year, to celebrate the centre's 20th anniversary, students from The Orpheus Centre will be joined by Arts Ed students on stage at London's The Other Palace, in a new production of Sir Richard Stilgoe’s Orpheus - The Mythical, a musical comedy about a Greek tragedy. 

'It's about a musician who, whenever he sings, the world stops and listens. And, I guess whenever our guys get up and sing the world stops and listens, so it's kind of relevant. Also, nobody knows those Greek stories anymore. And, they're really good. There's a three headed dog in it for heaven's sake. And a dragon. So, it makes for a good tale.’ Additionally, alongside The Orpheus Centre and Arts Ed students, every night the Greek Chorus within the musical will be played by one of many famous faces. When I ask how he managed to get performers such as Rob Brydon, Bertie Carvel and Imelda Staunton (to name just a few) to guest star in the show, Sir Richard's answer is extremely heart-warming... he just rang them up. 'It shows that our guys are good enough to perform with those guys.’ He proudly explains.
I wonder what sort of an impact The Orpheus Centre has had on its young students and Sir Richard is happy to enthuse about past students and their success stories. ‘Every year, one-third of our students leave, and they go off and they live independently in their own flats. They don't go into care homes. They don't go back home to live with mom and dad. They run their own lives because they've done so much performing that they are really, really confident.’ No doubt the skills they pick up and hone make a huge difference to confidence levels, a testament to both the power and importance of the arts and the talent of the individuals. Sir Richard goes on to assert that every school in Britain should be running similar activities for students, ‘because then you produce a really confident generation of young people. Sometimes if you write a song about what you're feeling you can express yourself more easily than if you just try to say what you're feeling. It's like an actor wearing a mask.’

Another thing which Sir Richard is proud of is The Orpheus Centre's OFSTED report, which ranked the centre as "Good" in every category. ‘Oh excellent!’ I exclaim, impressed. ‘We're not "Excellent", we're "Good"' he jokes. I stand corrected!

It seems that recently conversations about the visibility of disabled performers and creatives within theatre has become an urgent talking point. I wonder if Sir Richard thinks that enough is being done to provide opportunities for talented performers with disabilities to find work in the entertainment industry. 'You wouldn't put on a production of Othello, without a black actor playing Othello.' And similarly, 'I think now, you would try very hard not to have a disabled character who wasn't played by a disabled actor.’ He points out that whilst progress is relatively slow, compared to the way it was 10 years ago the number of actors with disabilities being cast in lead roles is rising, and with opportunities such as those being presented by The Orpheus Centre, which enable young performers to perform alongside seasoned professionals on a large London stage, no doubt the future will be even brighter. 

Review - Hamlet (Hackney Empire)

In 2016 the RSC's acclaimed production of Hamlet, starring (then) relative newcomer Paapa Essiedu as the eponymous prince, was first seen staged in Stratford-upon-Avon, as part of a celebration, to mark Shakespeare's 400th birthday. The production is now touring the UK before heading over to the states for a brief stint at the Washington Theater. 

Paapa Essiedu as Hamlet
Photo credit - Manuel Harlan  © RSC
With its seamless melded of Shakespeare's timeless language with a modern West African backdrop, director Simon Godwin’s Hamlet is a benchmark for modernised productions, which highlights the play's undying relevance from start to end.

The story of Hamlet, the young prince who discovers that his deceased father was murdered by his uncle in a bid to seize the throne is a tale which has been told and retold in hundreds of different ways, and yet few recent productions have managed to capture Hamlet's youthful brazenness and tireless loyalty so successfully. Compared to his many (often rather more senior) predecessors at the RSC, Paapa Essiedu is a somewhat precocious Hamlet for the modern day, who perfectly captures the balance between grieving son and smart alecky student. He and James Cooney's Horatio make a brilliant duo, with the realistic bond between them strengthening the already entirely believable world in which this Hamlet takes place.

Paapa Essiedu as Hamlet and Buom Tihngang as Laertes
Photo credit - Manuel Harlan  © RSC
Contrasting Essiedu’s youthful swagger and zeal, in the role of Hamlet's backstabbing uncle Claudius Clarence Smith is understated and yet totally engrossing. Every pang of doubt and guilt, or look of defiance, is hidden under several layers of regal charm, and so just as Hamlet endlessly debates his uncle's crimes, so too does the audience. Especially as Hamlet becomes more and more unhinged from reality, and finds himself drawn deeper and deeper into his own vengeful mind.

Designer Paul Wills' vibrant sets and costumes undoubtedly make a large impact in this vivid production. As Hamlet pulls away from quiet submission to his uncle, his rather ordinary clothes are abandoned in favour of a white suit jacket and trousers, spattered with a multitude of different coloured paints.

He defiantly graffitis a portrait of his mother and uncle with a crown atop a bold letter H. The brilliant fuschia spray-paint contrasts the rich and regal portrait’s tones, markedly establishing Hamlet’s volatile and disruptive intentions. This production overthrows all expectations. A fast paced and thrilling ride.

Review - Trap Street (New Diorama Theatre)

Beginning its tale in the 1960s, theatre company Kandinsky's Trap Street tells the story of one of the first families to move into a new flat on a fictional London estate named after Jane Austen. Frazzled matriarch Valerie, who dotes on her eldest son and constantly chastised her younger daughter, takes it upon herself to start building a community, and as the play jumps between past and present the lives of Valerie and her children are imprinted onto the building. Cut to the present day and Valerie's daughter Andrea returns to England after a long stay in Spain, keen to settle back into the flat where she grew up. The only problem is that the once bustling community of the Austen Estate is now gone, and has been replaced by an eerie emptiness, as property guardians dutifully inhabit the block until it is developed into luxury apartments. 

The cast of Trap Street
Photo credit - Richard Davenport
With a running time of just 80 minutes, Trap Street should feel sprightly, especially as it is comprised of a bunch of short scenes which continuously switch from the 1960s to present day and back again. It should cast sympathy on main character Andrea, the put upon youngest child of a pushy mother who's desperation to escape her family home is, over time, replaced with a need to preserve it. However, despite an interesting host of characters, unquestionably strong performances and a continually apt subject matter, Trap Street lacks focus and fails to make any fresh points or suggest any possible solutions to the societal issues it highlights. 

It also feels unnecessarily long, and spends a lot of time showing the audience how unlikable both Andrea and her mother are in their individual timelines. In one scene Amanda visits a swanky modern real estate agent, and is duped into trying out a virtual tour of one of the £700,000 flats which will replace her old home. She stumbles around the office wearing a VR headset whilst hipster estate agents look on bemusedly. Zac Gvirtzman's slow and nostalgic live score twinkles sadly, telling the audience to feel sorry for the woman. But it's very hard to do so. Ballooning London living costs are a fact of life nowadays, and it's hard to feel anything other than apathy towards that fact. 

Of course, the overarching message of the piece is clear from the beginning; pricing working class families out of the homes they grew up in is frankly terrible, and gentrification certainly fosters a very different neighbourhood, very unlike the tight knit communities which are so fondly reminisced about. But Trap Street says very little else about the current housing crisis, and so whilst Kandinsky's stimulus is compelling, the finished play feels underpowered, with many avenues left unexplored.

Review - Julius Caesar (The Courtyard Theatre)

If there's one play which mirrors the world's political landscape over the last couple of years, it's Julius Caesar. It's testament to the genius of Shakespeare's longevous writing that the political tragedy has been popping up in theatres at breakneck speed as of late, with notable recent production including Angus Jackson's spears and sandals production at the RSC and Nicholas Hytner's current production at the Bridge Theatre, which brings the drama into a gritty 21st century setting. But Spada Productions' gutsy new take goes a step further than both of those iterations, and drops Brutus and co. into a grim post apocalyptic wasteland, where a need for survival drives the actions of the play's notorious conspirators. 

Matt Daniels and Mitch Howell as Brutus and Cassius in Julius Caesar
Photo credit - Gary Cooper (
Director William Vercelli's bold vision is something to marvel at. In Vercelli's baron future, a violent form of masculinity rumbles steadily on, riling up the fiendish Cassius and urging the initially rather reticent Brutus into becoming the leader of a band of assassins tasked with murdering their country's beloved leader. 

Overcome with admiration and lust, Mitch Howell's serpentine Cassius controls Matt Daniels' Brutus like a puppet on a string. Combining flattery and seduction, he manipulates the object of his desire into plotting Caesar's downfall. The duo crackle dangerously, an undercurrent of mutual bloodlust binding them together, and the scenes they share are undoubtedly the most fascinating and complex in this production. Aïsha Kent's Calpurnia is another interesting character well portrayed. Reimagined as a mystical woman, seemingly capable of channelling spirits and prophesying the future, it is she who cries out 'beware the ides of march' in the production's striking opening scene. If only her husband Caesar could match her strength of spirit. As the titular general director William Vercelli is less convincing. He portrays a Caesar who seems unsure of himself, more peevish than all-powerful. Subsequently it is difficult to see he and the forbearing Brutus as the equals the text implies they are. Nevertheless, his downfall is suitably horrific, and creates a striking image which cements Vercelli's merciless Rome as an engagingly volatile and bloody one.

The cast of Julius Caesar
Photo credit - Gary Cooper (
However, on several occasions the cruel atmosphere which dominates the production oversteps into something much more sinister. The usually loving and devoted relationship between Brutus and his stately wife Portia is contorted into a murky marriage marred by savage and intense sexual violence, which culminates in a distraught Portia initiating a graphic coat hanger self-abortion and dying as a result. Even the most affable audience members will almost certainly find Portia's ghastly treatment uncomfortable to watch. Additionally, another unendurable scene sees Brutus coaxing his young servant to touch himself while he watches on voyeuristically. Far from 'the noblest Roman of them all', the Brutus moulded by Vercelli's Julius Caesar is a reprehensible wretch. In a world dominated by barbarity, the exploration of sadistic carnality and destructive masculinity is certainly interesting, but at times it seems gratuitous; more eager to shock its unsuspecting audience than provide particularly enlightening commentary for them. 

That being said, this Julius Caesar is certainly fresh, and successfully reinvents the well trodden play as something much darker and more distressing than the title suggests. Is the mistreatment of certain female characters undue? Almost certainly. Are the attempts to shock and distress audiences miscalculated at times? Without a doubt. But this stifling production builds a convincing world, where civilisation is a thing of the past, and individuals demonstrate power in any way they can think of, be that sexual domination, mental manipulation, or basely inhumane savagery. And for that reason, some of the production's most hyper-violent moments seem just about justifiable as artistic choices. The impressive world building is bolstered by Jenn Sambridge's simple yet completely immersive production design, and Gregory Jordan's lighting design, which casts a sickly light on each brutal scene.

Slimlining the conspirators, who are usually portrayed as a fearful and calculating bunch, into a handful of ragtag incendiaries, completely alters the dynamic of the play, and so when Christopher G. Jones's brattish Octavius saunters in at the end of the play and positions himself as the first emperor of Rome, it comes as a breath of fresh air. Will the broken country be any less fragmented under his rule? Probably not, but at least he'll shake things up a bit.

Interview - Daniel Buckley (Eugenius!)

'I’ve been in the industry for 6 years, and I’ve never had this much confidence before. And it’s nothing to do with having a bigger role or having more to do, it’s purely to do with my character and the joy that he brings. He has totally influenced me as a person!' 

I'm speaking to Daniel Buckley, who is currently playing Feris in the new musical Eugenius!, which transferred to The Other Palace in January following a hugely successful concert production at the London Palladium. 

'I know my job and I know what I’m doing in this industry, but there may have been a couple of jobs which knocked my confidence a bit, subconsciously' Buckley tells me, 'but this job solved that, and I’m feeling in a totally different place now because of this job, and I will always be grateful for that.' It's certainly the case that Eugenius! promotes self confidence and self love. In the musical, Buckley plays Feris, the extroverted and imperturbable best friend of protagonist Eugene. The pair are polar opposites, but that's what makes them such a good fit. 

Buckley has been involved with Eugenius! since its highly publicised workshop at none other that the London Palladium, where he appeared opposite actors such as Summer Strallen, Amy Lennox, David Bedella, and of course Warwick Davis, who now acts solely as a producer on the show. Buckley's voice can also be heard on the Eugenius! cast album. Recalling how he first became involved in the show, Buckley says, 'I got a call for this workshop called Eugenius! which I’d never heard of. The brief they asked for was something really confident which shows off your high range.' When he was invited back to audition again and saw the material for the show he admits to falling in love with it immediately. He remembers seeing the initial cast being announced after finishing his final audition. 'I was like, "I need this job"’. 

Of course, he ended up bagging the part, which marked the start of a journey with the show which is still ongoing now. But what was it like to perform the musical in public for the first time at the Palladium? 'I was excited because workshops are usually a very closed door thing, they’re usually invited audience only, and it’s quite usually quite low key'. Of course, the Palladium workshop ended up garnering a lot of positive fanfare, and subsequently a run at The Other Palace was announced. 'The Palladium was such a hit, and they knew Eugenius! had legs, but that it needed work as well, and I was very lucky that they kept me on and they didn’t really want to consider anyone else for the part.' 

Daniel Buckley and the cast of Eugenius! 
Photo credit - Pamela Raith
It's evident that his role in Eugenius! has had a pretty big influence on Buckley, and so I ask whether he relates to his character at all, and if he considered himself to be a geek when he was in school. 'I definitely wasn’t a geek. I was popular and confident within my own circle of friends, but there were outside influences which weren’t very nice to me, so I do kind of relate to that.' He also proffers that, as an actor, he is susceptible to vulnerability. 'I certainly didn’t have his level of confidence, to stand up to people the way he does, but I’ve grown in confidence from this job.' It's impressive to see that a role can have such a notable impact on an actor, but in a musical like Eugenius! where the idea of being yourself is central to the story, it's hardly surprising. Having just seen another of London's newest musicals, Everyone's Talking About Jamie, Buckley notes some similarities in the themes and morals. 'The message is about being constant in who you are and believing in yourself, and there’ll always be people who want to bring you down, but you can’t let that drag you down. You have to rely on your friends and be there for each other.'

Another thing Buckley has noticed since appearing in the show is the enthusiastic word of mouth reputation it is getting. 'I haven’t spoken to a single person who hasn’t come out buzzing. They cannot help the way they feel when they come out of the auditorium.' And for an actor there must be very few things which are more rewarding than that. He continues, 'it's the best feeling in the world, because not only do we have a good time doing the show, but when we leave and see that reaction it keeps us on that high'. 

The cast of Eugenius!
Photo credit - Pamela Raith
Aside from the undeniable feelgood factor elicited at the end of Eugenius! another element which contributes to its popularity is the fact that rides on the fact that pop culture is in the grip of an 80s throwback at the moment. I wonder if being immersed in the world of Eugenius! has given Daniel Buckley an insight into why that might be. He actually has a pretty good explanation for the phenomenon. 'In the 80s anything went, and it was such a creative time. We were seeing people for who they really were, and everyone’s imagination was going wild. You were seeing lots of kids get represented, who were realistic; they swore, they spoke vulgarly about themselves and other people, and people were interested in that. And I think people are nostalgic for that now.' 

And what about people who don't embrace the 80s throwbacks quite as heartily? 'You can look back at any of the amazing cult films and the massive franchises, and you will see every single character represented in all those films. There’s a geek, there’s a stock jock, a bully, an outcast, and what the writers Chris [Wilkins] and Ben [Adams] have done is drawn from all of those things and put them into this show. People think that we’re whacking you with every stereotype, but that’s because all of those stereotypes are in all of those films too.' He elaborates, using Stranger Things as an example. 'You’re watching what would have been represented in Stand By Me and Back To The Future. There were monsters and alternative worlds, and sci-fi and magic, and horror, there was all of those things.' So, I wonder, how do the actors in Eugenius! channel the spirit of 80s movies in their individual performances? 'I’ve had times where I think I’m doing too much and all I have to do it go and look at one of those films from the 80s, like The Goonies, all the performances are massive, and they work because of that. Everything is so heightened. And that’s what our director Ian [Talbot] kept saying; we’re not doing Shakespeare or Ibsen, we’re doing a fun silly show, which is full of nostalgia, and we need to keep it up there to keep the buzz.'

Daniel Buckley, Laura Baldwin and Liam Forde in Eugenius!
Photo credit - Pamela Raith
Eugenius! may very well be a fun show which clearly doesn't take itself too seriously, but despite a huge amount of praise for the 80s nostalgia-fest, a streak of criticism which ran through many print and online reviews was the way which women were presented in the musical, which features a character named Super Hot Lady, who is designed by the musical's likable protagonist Eugene, but still comes across as hypersexualised by today's standards. There's also a seedy movie industry bigwig called Lex, who's attitude towards women is highly inappropriate. Buckley is keen to shed some light on the inclusion and treatment of these characters, saying 'we had conversations in rehearsals, when we dealt with certain scenes, about whether they were appropriate. But the writers aren’t condoning that behaviour, they’re commenting on it and acknowledging that it happened.'

When I reviewed the show I wrote about an uncomfortable subplot geaturing Buckley's character Feris lying to actress Carrie Carter (aka Super Hot Lady) about being an agent, in order to try and seduce her. Buckley informs me that in response to critical feedback, that storyline has completely changed. 'A 17 year old boy pretending to be something that he’s not in order to achieve that jarred with the writer, so now what happens is that she assumes that he’s a movie star in another movie, and he rolls with that'. It's heartening to hear that at a time when the treatment of women in the entertainment industry is such a hot topic, the writers are willing to listen to the reviews and comments being made, and respond by adapting the piece. Buckley explains that 'at the end of the day the show still needs nurturing, and it’s progressing, and to ignore those comments would be ignorant.'

Eugenius! is currently running at The Other Palace, a theatre which is dedicated to discovering, developing and reimagining musical theatre. Given the musical's evolving storyline and ever growing fan base, it seems like the perfect venue. So why should audiences book a ticket? Buckley finishes our conversation with the following statement... 'I can't profess to every single moment of the show being everyone’s cup of tea, and I can’t say to people, oh it’s 80s, or it’s superheroes, or it’s comic books, or it’s sci-fi. All I can say is that it’s retro and it’s fun, and come and see how it makes you feel.'

Review - Shakespeare's Margaret Thatcher (Drayton Arms Theatre)

If Shakespeare was alive today, who would he be writing plays about? That is the fascinating question which Wayside Theatre Company's Shakespeare's Margaret Thatcher sets out to answer.

In a sparsely furnished room in the middle of what seems to be purgatory, William Shakespeare is hosting a dinner party. Well into his four hundred and second year of death, Shakespeare surrounds himself with famous historical figures including a droll Gertrude Stein, strong willed Aphra Behn and even Socrates, who always seems to have some wisdom to share. The renowned dead are gathered together to take part in the first reading of Shakespeare's newest play, which charts the downfall of ex British prime minister Margaret Thatcher. 

In typical Shakespearean fashion, Shakespeare's Margaret Thatcher operates as a play within the play, with the mismatched dinner party cohort assuming roles as major figures in Thatcher's premiership. It must be said that playwright Ciaran Barata-Hynes' emulation of typical Shakespearean tropes is brilliant, with cross gender casting, limited use of sets and props, and plenty of jokes for good measure, courtesy of Thatcher's very own fool, of course. Barata-Hynes even ensures that Shakespeare's newest opus adapts the Early Modern English of his other literary offerings. This is an interesting touch, previously used to great effect in Mike Bartlett's controversial King Charles III, which adds a sense of authenticity to the proceedings. That being said, at points more care could be taken to ensure that the imitation of Shakespeare's language is as accurate as possible, as word order is mangled unnaturally at points, making some of the dialogue hard to follow. Additionally, without the epic battles and sweeping romances of Shakespeare's other tragedies, Margaret Thatcher's political ventures are understandably static and occasionally become a little bit turgid. Even Thatcher's speechwriter Ronald Millar, taking on the Fool mantle, is relatively restrained. Given the colourful array of outrageous characters dining with Shakespeare, his play's prolonged focus on slimy Thatcher eta politicians seems comparatively heavy.

Writer and director Ciaran Barata-Hynes plays the skittish William Shakespeare well, exuding an air of fragility seeped in several decades' worth of self-doubt. Fretting over what his peers will think of his new play, he cautiously cajoles everyone into their parts, casting liberal twentieth century poet Dorothy Parker as the Iron Lady. In her dual roles Elizabeth Pilcher is impressive; as entertaining as the witty wordsmith as she is prickly as the PM of old. Similarly, taking on the roles of Michael Heseltine and John Major, as well as restoration era writer Aphra Behn, Zara Walwyn is an intriguing presence on stage, whilst Christopher Grace makes American founding father Benjamin Franklin seem like an ideal dinner party guest. 

All in all Shakespeare's Margaret Thatcher has a fascinating and ambitious premise, but it could do with a bit of fine tuning. Margaret Thatcher, is such an interesting character, and it takes no stretch of imagination to believe that Shakespeare would want to write about her if the two were contemporaries. Surrounded by cronies who abandon her to her execrating subjects and scheming political adversaries, Thatcher could be compared to Richard II, or Julius Caesar, and her demise certainly makes her an interesting, if not hugely sympathetic, character. But Shakespeare's Margaret Thatcher also introduces a ton of brilliantly fun historical figures, all mixing together in the afterlife, and the contrast between the play's high energy dinner party antics, and the bristling political drama of Thatcher and co. feels jarring and disjointed. Barata-Hynes' idea is a riveting one, and the cast are versatile and gamesome, and given that the play was devised within one month, it's a strong piece without a doubt, but with a bit more refining, Shakespeare's Margaret Thatcher could become remarkable.