Politics under attack in satiric A View from Islington North at Arts Theatre

A View from Islington North. Image Stephen Pover
A View from Islington North. Image Stephen Pover

Some of the country’s top playwrights promise an evening of imaginative, provocative and hilarious political satire with a series of one-act plays for A View From Islington North, directed by Max Stafford-Clark, at London’s Arts Theatre from May.

The company includes Sarah Alexander (Smack the Pony, Coupling, Armstrong and Miller), Ann Mitchell (extensive screen and stage credits, most recently series regular ‘Cora Cross’ in EastEnders), Bruce Alexander (A Touch of Frost, Love and Marriage), Steve John Shepherd (‘Michael Moon’ in Eastenders, Jo in This Life) Jane Wymark (Midsomer Murders, Poldark), Joseph Prowen and Kathryn O’Reilly.

In The Accidental Leader by Alistair Beaton (Feelgood, Not the Nine O’Clock News, A Very Social Secretary), Jim, a backbench MP in the party of Her Majesty’s Opposition is attempting to orchestrate a very British coup. But trouble comes in the shape of Nina, deputy chair of the party’s grass roots organisation…‘Impetus’

How To Get Ahead In Politics by Stella Feehily (This May Hurt A Bit, Bang Bang Bang, Duck), we see The Chief Whip practices his dark arts on an MP, who doesn’t stand a chance…

A View from Islington North - Sarah Alexander, Ann Mitchell, Steve John Shepherd, Kathryn O'Reilly, Joseph Prowen, Bruce Alexander, Jane Wymark - cStephen Pover

David Hare’s Ayn Rand Takes A Stand members of the current government, feeling their ideology fall apart, receive a bracing visit from Ayn Rand, the high priestess of the free market.

In Tickets Are Now On Sale, Caryl Churchill imagines a world where even language is sponsored.

And in The Mother, Mark Ravenhill (Shopping and Fucking, Mother Clapp’s Molly House, Candide) eyes the cost of our military adventures, as a soldier’s mother does all she can to avoid hearing the news she dreads.

Max Stafford-Clark, artistic director of Out of Joint, said: “From Beyond The Fringe to Spitting Image to The Thick of It, political satire has never really gone out of fashion, and continues to act as a pungent corrective to political pomposity and ambition.

“Over a few years Out of Joint has accumulated a number of short plays, originally written for other purposes; Caryl Churchill’s play Tickets Are Now On Sale formed part of a Theatre Uncut season, and Stella Feehily’s How to Get Ahead in Politics was written for a one-off occasion on the eve of the General Election.

“And I’ve always wanted to revisit Mark Ravenhill’s searing play The Mother, since it was first performed at the Royal Court in 2008. It occurred to me then that we had the beginnings of a pertinent and provocative evening!

“Alistair Beaton and David Hare happily responded to an invitation to write new plays, Billy Bragg agreed to compose a new song, and there we had A View from Islington North.

“Of course Islington North has long been estate-agent speak for Holloway – not only is it the political seat of the Leader of the Opposition but also, even more importantly, it has been Out of Joint’s home for over 20 years.”

A View From Islington North runs at the Arts Theatre from May 18-July 2.

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