Witty politics drama 'This House' is a landslide success
James Graham's mix of showbiz and documentary lampoons 1970s British politics
What you need to know
James Graham's new political drama, This House, directed by James Herrin, has transferred to the National's Olivier Theatre after a sell-out run last year at the smaller Cottesloe studio.
This House is set during the turbulent political period of 1974-1979, when a minority Labour government relied on precarious alliances with a mixed bag of smaller parties. The play shows the backroom deals politicians make to stay in power and get things done.
Phil Daniels stars as Labour whip Bob Mellish and Reece Dinsdale plays his deputy, Walter Harrison. Downton Abbey's Charles Edwards appears as Tory whip Jack Weatherill. Runs until 16 May when it will be screened in cinemas nationally.
What the critics like
Graham's play is "an astonishingly assured account of the compromised mixture of ambition and idealism in politics", says Jane Shilling in the Daily Telegraph. It is diligently researched, ferociously witty, and has "much to say" to about our current condition.
It's a "delightfully nimble-footed look at the intricacies of 1970s politics", says Fiona Mountford in the Evening Standard. "A landslide success."
The "mix of showbiz and documentary" flies, thanks to a fine cast and well-drawn characters, says Dominic Maxwell in The Times.
What they don't like
The play "could use more socio-political substance", says Matt Trueman in The Guardian. But it's "a thoroughbred crowd-pleaser", lampooning a flawed political system, without tipping into spoof. ·