Writer, Jonathan Maitland has recreated for stage the out of public view relationships between Mrs Thatcher and the most prominent politicians and advisers of the 80’s era. This is not an unfolding account as it concentrates on 1981 and 1989 particularly, and, for the sake of entertainment, skates over the political years in-between.
So the play opens in 1981, and, with the clever use of imagined dialogue and the stunning visual presence of Steve Nallon in character, it is a throwback setting that is something so consciously familiar for a lot of us. As the play develops it is only the smell of perspiring politicians in crisis that is missing!
The growing bug bear, was, of course, the government split over Europe. The play is also a true portrayal of the then Prime Minister’s divisive motivations and the strong hold she had over the men she chose to keep close.
On the flip side it is interestingly revealed, through her coolness and sarcastic behaviour when in the company of Elspeth Howe; wife of Geoffrey, that clearly demonstrates the insecurity Mrs T felt from having another strong woman in her midst. Elspeth and she were poles apart in manner and principle, and she thought Elspeth as a threat to the ‘family’ of men around her.
This it is not by any means a ‘see what happens when women take over’ story, but it does touch on the subject of sexual equality. The base of the play however, is allowing insight to the Prime Minister’s top dog motivations and the revealing of her potential to be unkind and insincere to those closest to her.
It’s a skilful piece, something about seeing those figures on stage telling the story is terrific. The jokes are well thought out and as you might well expect, there is lots of back stabbing and false sentiments expressed! Recommended!