Review of a stage play written by Richard Bean
Venue: Theatre Royal Haymarket, London, UK
Lucy Punch and Robert Glenister were outstanding in their roles as Paige Britain and Wilson Tikkel, respectively, in this fast-paced, entertaining and strangely familiar satire of politics, corruption and press intrusion written by Richard Bean.
Ambition and greed are the motivating forces behind the manipulative Paige in her position as News Editor for popular redtop the Free Press. Her complete lack of any moral integrity is staggering in her desire to create ever more sensationalist news stories for the tabloid paper’s readers. Robert Glenister, too, was wonderful as the foul-mouthed Editor, egging on his protégées to do whatever it takes to get the next big lead.
The spirit of democracy lays wasting as the story unfolds to reveal collusion between the police, politicians and the press. Caught in the middle of the mayhem is the Police Commissioner, Sully Kassam, with his increasingly bizarre behaviour and hilarious politically incorrect comments.
There are definite parallels to be drawn between some plot lines and recent highly-publicised events in the British Press. Indeed, the original scheduled opening of the play at The National Theatre was delayed at the advice of lawyers until the phone hacking trial had ended.
Great Britain perfectly captures the underside of contemporary Britain at its most unsavoury best.