Coalition: The Play
Coalition is a play envisioning the tough times still to come for the Liberal Democrats as their leader, Matt Cooper (played by Thom Tuck), a sort of foul-mouthed Faustian version of Nick Clegg, is tasked with trying to hold his party together while the coalition with the Tories collapses around him.
There’s great pacing between scenes, as a sparse setup, with only a desk and a few chairs making up the space, is filled by the energetic Tuck. It plays out like a Greek tragedy, rife with plots of backstabbing and revenge. The dialogue is grounded in reality, yet the script is a little thin. Whilst it lacks the satirical bite of Armando Iannucci’s offerings, it’s still an incredibly funny play carried along by a strong supporting cast. Phil Jupitus in particular is obviously relishing his role as the slithery Tory chief whip, stealing every scene he’s in, whilst Jo Caulfield is mostly playing it straight as his Lib Dem opposite.
That being said, it’s difficult to become too enthralled by Coalition. The character of Cooper is hard to like, which of course makes it difficult to sympathise with his downfall, and you’re never really sure of the message the play is trying to impart.