RSC Richard II cast read Thomas of Woodstock and the back stage tour
Theatre 2013 lists: Top 5 fringe plays of the year

Review: Upstanding Member at the Old Red Lion

Upstanding Member at the Old Red Lion l-r Carole Street, Tim Dewberry and Stephen Omer

Politicians have long been an easy target for comedy - there was a whole programme about it on Radio 4 just last night but the skill in Gregory Skulnick's script, The Upstanding Member, is in how satisfactorily the farce ties together.

I say farce, it isn't farce in the slapstick sense of One Man Two Guv'nors - aside from some ridiculous hiding behind coats and coffee tables it is the scenario that is really farcical.

Unnamed MP (Stephen Omer) has a squeaky clean reputation and stereotypical bossy wife (Carole Street) unfortunately he is a super injunction away from becoming front page tabloid fodder and losing everything. It's the usual stuff, he's fallen for  pretty, young escort Gloria (Kate Craggs) and she's pregnant and trying to blackmail him.

The press suspect something amiss and are up to dirty tricks to get evidence, sending two petty criminals to steal Gloria's phone from the MP's house.

This being farce, the MP comes home early, the criminals have to pose as lawyers and then his wife unexpectedly turns up and she's not been as squeaky clean as she would appear either.

There are flashes of wit and cleverness and a few laugh out loud moments. The resolution was skillfully and satisfactorily brought about but this felt amusing rather than funny. It isn't the sharpest of political comedies and it isn't the silliest but it showed promise from new writer Skulnick.

The Upstanding Member runs at the Old Red Lion Theatre in Islington until Jan 4.


Tim Dewberry who plays Alistair lists The Lover/The Collection at the Harold Pinter Theatre in his biog which, if my research is correct, was directed by Jamie Lloyd. Jamie Lloyd recently directed The Pride which starred Hayley Atwell, Al Weaver, Harry Hadden-Paton and Mathew Horne all of whom have direct connections with Mr W. And of course Jamie Lloyd also worked at the Donmar with Michael Grandage who directed Mr W in Peter and Alice this year.