Review: This House at the Garrick Theatre

This House is an acerbic, political powerhouse of a play, which seems strikingly of our time – despite its 1970s setting.

We’re living in an era of increased political engagement. The EU Referendum in June saw the highest turn out of voters since 1992, and as Brexit continues to dominate the headlines, people are thinking more and more about our current, political landscape.

In This House, we’re transported to a similar time of political warfare, where in 1974, Labour is struggling with a minority government and the Conservatives are battling for a vote of no confidence.

Where the show excels is in James Graham’s witty script and Jeremy Herrin’s ingenious direction. The action – instead of taking place in the stuffy, hallowed halls of the House of Commons – instead plays out in parliamentary bars, cramped offices and grand lobbies; with the Speaker of the House acting as something of a narrator, guiding the audiences through four years of political chaos.

THIS HOUSE by Graham, , Writer - James Graham, Director - Jeremy Herrin, Designer - Rae Smith, Lighting - Paule Constable, Chichester Festival Theatre, 2016, Credit: Johan Persson/

Through whispered conversations, high-stake games play out as the chief whips play cat-and-mouse with each other for crucial votes and quick wins. It’s surprisingly accessible, not once getting lost in political jargon or hyperbole, but cleverly subverting the action to feel incredibly tense, shocking and even farcical… Sound familiar, Theresa?

The cast are on top form too. Notably good are Nathaniel Parker as Jack Weatherill, Steffan Rhodri as Walter Harrison and the wonderful Phil Daniels as Bob Mellish; although special mention has to go to Lauren O’Neil as Ann Taylor, Labour’s token female, who really holds her own in an otherwise largely male cast.

It’s an impressive turn from the whole ensemble, who thanks to such a dynamic script not only re-tell such a remarkable historical moment but relive it, making it feel as recognisable as our current standing in the swathes of political history.

Tickets for This House are available now through

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