With A Beginner’s Guide to Populism, Andy Moseley skewers everything that is troubling about politics today in an hour-long show as fresh as the day’s news and in which, refreshingly, the B-word isn’t even mentioned.
As Antonia Morgan, a gauche local authority councillor with much greater political ambitions, Isabel Palmstierna is consistently hilarious as she learns, obeys and breaks the new rules of power, as set out by a shadowy party apparatchik, an exceedingly slippery Jeremy Taylor played by Will Underwood. But in trying to win over the voters of Little Middleton, an “unwinnable” seat, Morgan has first to reconcile her new more “flexible” outlook with the principled views she expressed on certain local issues in the past, views that a local man, played boorishly by Jordan Edgington, is determined to exploit to the full.
Moseley emphasises that his target is politics not any specific political party yet it is hard not to see A Beginner’s Guide to Populism as a sharply focused look at the commit-to-nothing-in-order-to-please-everyone tactics of a certain current leader as well as the wider risks of populism in Europe as well as on both sides of the Atlantic. And the play’s conclusion underlines sharply that what starts as a vocal minority is likely to end as a feral mob.
A Beginner’s Guide to Populism, directed with pace and humour by David Wood, has had a short run at the Cockpit before moving outside London. Catch it if you can.
Review by Louis Mazzini
The villagers of Little Middleton are up in arms about proposals that will spell the end of their village. Following the announcement of plans to create Middleton Garden City, residents of the village have launched the Save Little Middleton campaign, and hope their campaign will preserve their historic community and keep it out of the hands of property developers and speculators.
Parliamentary candidate Antonia Morgan, puts herself forward to lead the campaign – an odd decision, given her previous endorsement of the proposals, but Morgan and her party want to reconnect with the public, and her political adviser knows that the only way to do that is to tell them what they want to hear; whether you believe it yourself is irrelevant in the world of modern politics.
The play is premiering at The Cockpit, London on November 17 and 18, as part of Voila! Europe, a non-Brexit-fearing festival whose mission is to bust the barriers of language and showcase plays from around Europe & the UK to the multi-national audiences of London.
Production – NoLogoProductions presents A Beginner’s Guide to Populism
Venue – The Cockpit, London, NW8 8EH, part of Voila! Europe Festival
Dates & Times – 17th – 18th November 2017 (approx 1 hour)