James Bonney MP at the White Bear Theatre
Georgina Leanne Harris directs this comedy about a moderate Labour MP (played by Andrew Loudon) who finds himself with a battle on his hands as the party begins to shift left under Corbyn’s new leadership.
As a moderate, Bonney’s brand of politics is a bit too Conservative for some Labour members. Malcolm Rose (Ciaran Lonsdale), a young up-start member, a democratic socialist and the MP’s daughter’s boyfriend no less, attempts to wrestle Bonney’s seat away from the him in order to have a true left-wing voice in parliament.
Ian Buckley’s play feels a little self-indulgent. His own political views are painstakingly obvious, reflected in the young, passionate and ethically conscious Rose whose politics are thought out and justified. Bonney on the other hand is represented as a lazy, profiteering, weak-willed idiot who doesn’t really seem to have many opinions on politics and never really argues or defends the few he does.
Ultimately, James Bonney MP is adding to the noise. It’s toned down but it’s still the same tedious and false left vs right rhetoric that is filling column inches these days. There is a missed opportunity for a genuine and honest debate of ideals, something people are yearning for right now, in exchange for more of the same.
But, despite its political flaws, the play is light and easy enough to watch. Some of the jokes are solid and the energy on stage keeps things from dragging. The set, made up of a number of moving doors to depict different locations feels unnecessary. It’s all so similar that the performers may as well be on an empty stage and in the small corner space of the White Bear Theatre, the set changes are incredibly clumsy.
All in all, James Bonney MP is a bit of fun and runs at a good pace. But it just doesn’t quite work as well as perhaps it could have done.
Photo: Georgia Leanne Harris
James Bonney MP is at the White Bear Theatre from 20th June until 8th July 2017. For further information or to book visit here.