Theatre Review: A Walk On Part @ Soho Theatre

Rachel Holdsworth
By Rachel Holdsworth Last edited 73 months ago
Theatre Review: A Walk On Part @ Soho Theatre


Hating government is very du jour, so it's no surprise the Soho Theatre has brought back this adaptation of Chris Mullin's political diaries following its sell-out run last year. Not heard of Chris Mullin? We don't blame you: he was the Labour MP for Sunderland South 1987-2010 and a junior Minister in the Blair era. An idealist leftie, the play follows the rise and fall of New Labour and the small role he played in it.

Thirteen years is a long time to cram into two hours covering world events, family life and intra-party bickering, so it inevitably feels patchy in places
Parliamentary Private Secretary: Here's my one line delivered and that's the last you'll see of me.

Though at least the play keeps moving and the fast pace allows for some punchy comic asides
Ann Winterton: You've pwobably never heard of me either, but after tonight you'll always wemember how I talk
Tony Benn: My impression of a menu-as-steam-train must be seen to be believed
HM The Queen: Apparently one has a biting sense of humour.

John Hodgkinson is excellent as the slightly nerdy Mullin, grappling with anger at injustice, the futility of smaller governmental jobs, his struggles to reconcile being a loyal party politician, securing preferment and doing the right thing. Four cast members play the many other roles and there are some brilliant impressions at work. Howard Ward's Gordon Brown provokes gales of laughter and as Tony Blair, Hywel Morgan ranks in between Michael Sheen and Stephen Mangan
Tony Blair: Thank you very much, insincere hand gesture, I'm very flattered. I'm always very flattered.

We're not sure the play has much to interest anyone who didn't, say, follow the 90 days detention debate or have an opinion about Robin Cook, but if you're at all into politics this is one not to miss.

A Walk On Part runs until 14 April at Soho Theatre, Dean Street W1. Tickets £15-£27.50. See the Soho Theatre website for more information. We saw this production on a press ticket.

Last Updated 23 March 2012