A New Play for the General Election at the Finborough
The set is small and dingy, there’s the thump of music in the distance and a man, who we’ll call Tom, is tied to a chair. This is the set for award-winning actor/director Chris New’s latest play, A New Play for the General Election. It may not be as touching or socially conscious as New’s previous work but it’s an experience, to say the least.
The play takes place on the night before the 2015 General Election when an enterprising young man takes “Tom” hostage in a moment of desperation. Tom (Charlie Holloway) claims to be a simple accountant, but in reality he’s someone far more important, and our hostage taker Daniel Smith (Jumaane Brown) turns out, too, to not to be what he seems. Emily Houghton and Tim Pritchett round out the cast as Maggie and Richard respectively.
When writing A New Play, New worked around his actors and relied heavily on improvisation to come up with the final story, and it shows. The play starts out with Brown interrogating Holloway; the former’s performance is a little more believable than the latter’s, and though the script might not be brilliant there are a few interesting points brought up. It wears thin rather quickly though, taking far too long for either of them to get to the point. After a fashion, all semblance of coherence goes out of the window with the introduction of Houghton’s character. At this point the play certainly gets more interesting, though it’s difficult to tell whether it’s ground-breaking or akin to watching a train wreck. Houghton’s character is a little shrill; Pritchett doesn’t seem to have much to do besides get in between the others and the topic of politics seems to have been all but lost, but it’s intriguing nonetheless.
Though it’s a little bizarre and certainly not everyone’s cup of tea, A New Play for the General Election is well worth a watch, even if it is just to see what all the fuss is about.
A New Play for the General Election is on at Finborough Theatre until 12th May 2015, for further information or to book visit here.