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Review: A Walk on Part, Soho Theatre

This review appeared in the weekly West End Extra newspaper, Friday 24th November, along with its sister papers the Camden New Journal and the Islington Tribune.

IN her 2001 book, the left-wing activist from Islington, Liz Davies, bemoaned that New Labour conference delegates were happy to accept a “non-speaking, walk-on part” but would never think of making trouble for their leaders.

If this play’s title were simply describing former minister Chris Mullin’s significance in government, “non-speaking” would be an apposite prefix.

But as John Hodgkinson, who plays Mullin, dances across the stage, he’s certainly got a lot of talking to do.

This is the tale of the former Sunderland MP, former minister, former political journalist and writer of the novel A Very British Coup, who shares with Alan Clark the distinction of writing diaries that are widely acclaimed rather than consigned to the Slough branch of The Works.

In this stage version of Mullin’s memoirs, we race from crisis to anecdote, as a talented, flexible cast of four moves from portraying Tony Benn to Tony Blair to George Osborne before you can say Yes, Minister.

It could be argued that writer Michael Chaplin would have been better off excising the Brown years, which seem somewhat disjointed when they conclude the play.

For this is a story of the Blair era – and of a very human search for old-fashioned values of decency and morality while attempting to climb the greasy pole… which seems greasier than ever before.

Until December 10
020 7478 0100

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