Five people sit around a suburban living room over drinks and nibbles. It could be Abigail’s Party were it not for the fact that instead of debating whether or not we like Demis Roussos, we’re discussing Britain's detachment from the European Union.
There’s some crisp writing in Julie Burchill and Jane Robins' People Like Us which attempts to hold a mirror up to the nature of sophisticated north London book group intellectuals as surely as Mike Leigh skewered the Romford seventies' suburbanites.
Their play focuses on long-time socially cohered Londoners riven by choosing different sides in the referendum. It’s a raw and real subject, and you can feel the slap of veteran contrarian columnist Burchill railing against the injustice of those who would 'challenge democracy’, or who are self-righteously confident of their own superior intellect and attitude.
Unfortunately, the pro-European argument is lost by putting it in the mouth of a near-incomprehensible French woman living in Archway with her Jay Rayner-ish bon vivant partner (Kamaal Hussain) whose interest in Europe comes mostly from the neck of its wine bottles, and in the second act both the book group and the play get hopelessly bogged down in a rant about Islamophobia in Michel Houellebecq's eve-of-Charlie-Hebdo-published dystopian novel Submission.
Esoteric, or quoi?
People Like Us, Union Theatre, Union Street, SE1. Tickets £26, returns only. Until 20 October 2018.