Review: I’m Not Running at The National Theatre (Lyttelton)

People die for freedom, people die for justice, people don’t die for efficiency

Rating – ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

A blistering political comedy, ripe for 2018

One good thing (and possibly the only good thing) about Brexit is that from the fiery depths of uncertainty brand new and exciting work have risen like a Phoenix.

I’m Not Running tells the story of Pauline, a Midlands GP who is shoved into the limelight when she fights to save her local hospital from closing. Becoming a figurehead for the NHS Pauline stands alone in Westminster as an Independent MP. However as she gains popularity the question of whether she will run as a candidate for the Labour Party leadership begins to pull her further into the political throng.

A timely play as ever I’m Not Running explores the relationship between governance and doing what’s right. Diving into issues like the future of the NHS, the representation of women and what supporting labour and being labour actually means in 2018.

Full of witty one liners and perfect comedic timing this is a fast paced and emotionally charged 2 and half hour production. With simple set and lighting the stage transforms from bedroom to hospital to an office in Westminster in no time at all. 24 hour news and rolling updates have taken up most of our lives, bombarding us with information. I’m Not Running mirrors the modern day as video interviews of the characters breakup the transitions. Representing the media circus that modern politics has become. It also displays the immense talent from the actors as they portray their skill in both stage and screen performance.

I’m Not Running at the National TheatreI’m Not Running at the National Theatre

Sian Brooke makes the perfect Pauline. Her dry delivery instantly makes you like her, her comic timing is perfection and her moments of tenderness makes her seem more human. Alex Handel (Pauline’s Ed boyfriend and fellow candidate to the Labour leadership) embodies the slimy, smarmy and smooth talking career politician with immense accuracy. I had to keep reminding myself that he was just an actor and may not actually be a prick in real life. The two together was a brilliant contradiction – Pauline, human, funny and a rule breaker, Alex sleezy, well practiced and a stickler for towing the party line.

It seemed that this play was one of two halves, the first act focused upon the risk of hospital closure and the impact on local communities. Whereas the second act tackled feminism and women’s representation in government. As a raging leftie and feminist this rhetoric appealed to me leaving me feeling inspired and ready to make my mark on the political landscape.

However this play isn’t just for corbynites this is a play for anyone who has an interest in the state of the UK. As we hurtle ever closer to the Brexit deadline the arts are becoming ever more important in opening up the debate. I’m Not Running is the perfect play for those who like to leave the theatre feeling amused yet challenged.

I’m Not Running is now playing at the Lyttelton Stage at the National Theatre through to January 31! Book your tickets here!

Till next time,

Abigail x

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