Monday, 21 August 2017

'Committee' at the Donmar Warehouse

We went to see 'Committee' at the Donmar Warehouse a few weeks ago, the new 'musical' based on transcripts of the Parliamentary hearing about Kids Company and how it went bankrupt.  It was big news for a few days, about his successive Government grants had kept Kids Company afloat for years until the Cabinet office said 'no more'. Everyone with a public platform, including Prime Ministers had said what marvellous work Kids Company did, helping young people that social services couldn't reach so it was a brave minister who said 'no'. No doubt he already had everyone lined up behind him for when the proverbial hit the fan. Which it did with threats of civil disturbances that didn't really happen.

We see the select committee getting ready for another hearing, alerted that it might actually get some publicity since the people involved are Camila Batmanghelidjh and Alan Yentob. The script and songs are lifted from the transcript of the hearing, which is an interesting idea but I'm not sure it worked terribly well. When this play was first mentioned I didn't want to see it at all since I was involved in the margins of briefing for the hearing, but then I thought 'why not?'. It's only 80 minutes without an interval so it's not like it's a full evening wasted if it's not good.

Was it good? Well, not really as a whole. There were some nice performances (Sandra Marvin was excellent in all the padding as Camilla and Alexander Hanson is always worth watching) but it didn't work for me as a play. What was it meant to do? Send us out into the night commiserating with Kids Company or congratulating government on finally having some balls and saying no? Or something else? Simply presenting us with a highly edited version of the transcript of the hearing doesn't really take us anywhere. And calling it a 'musical' was a mistake. Where were the tunes?

Where it dd work were the impersonations of some of the politicians, like Rosemary Ashe as Kate Hoey (accent and all) and Rebecca Lock as Cheryl Gillan. I particularly liked Cheryl since I worked to the real Cheryl in the '90s in the dying days of the last John Major government. Her apparent inability to pronounce Camilla's last name was so on target.

It wasn't a wasted evening by any means and I'm pleased to have seen it but I don't think I'll go to any future revivals... if it's ever revived.

No comments: