Steve Richards: Rock N Roll Politics, Soho Theatre, London
Given that I'm currently embroiled in a bitter political battle against my local council (albeit with the hearty support of my MP) I might be Steve Richards' toughest audience member tonight, somewhat resistant to the idea that politicians are human beings, insecure and tortured by dilemma.
However, having worked in politics I can relate to Richards' central assertion in this show - a kind of spoken blog - that politics is not boring and that people should be as excited by it as they are angry about it.
Likening politics to rock n' roll might be a stretch - you could just about apply that to comedy - but, as a one-time political anorak, I too can understand the bizarre thrill of meeting one's first senior politician and understand how a gas fire burning one's leg wouldn't distract from that, a situation Richards found himself in as a student journalist meeting Roy Jenkins.
Describing his hour as "anti-satire", Richards, The Independent's chief political columnist since 2000 and presenter of Radio 4's 'Week in Westminster', develops his love of politics into a gentle defence of the politician's need to be strong in a crisis and decisive in times of of dilemma - the dilemma being the rock 'n' roll moment in politics.
The odds are stacked against the politicians, he says: "They are posh but don't want to be seen as posh"; they have to talk about Byron burgers and Greggs pasties rather than macroeconomics; they are tortured by Twitter and they have to endorse some appalling by-election candidates. Worse still many of them "are not fully formed" and "are given big jobs far too young." Yes, Cameron, Clegg and Miliband, he's talking about you.
One could almost have sympathy for these devils. Richards' reminders of hostages to fortune (for example Cameron's request to him to "text if you feel I have moved from the centre ground to the right") and moments of more intended wit portray the politicos as both vulnerable and human. Later on we are polled on some hypothetical dilemmas to graduate from sympathy to empathy.
Rather like a book festival talk with no book as a focus, Richards' hour is genial, comfortable and arguably more likely than even the best column to make the case for politicians and politics. It's a speakers corner moment, a back-to-basics way of extolling the virtues of people who, ironically, could stand to be reminded of what it is like to connect with their own audiences.
ReviewThese heroes in a half shell should have been left in hibernation
Sek, k'athjilari! (That’s “yes, definitely” to non-native speakers).TV
Arts & Ents blogs
- 1 Jack the Ripper: Scientist who claims to have identified notorious killer has 'made serious DNA error'
- 2 Banksy arrest hoax: Internet duped by fake online report claiming artist's identity has been revealed
- 3 Former East 17 frontman Brian Harvey turns up at Downing Street and 'demands to speak to Prime Minister'
- 4 Kentucky gang rape: 15-year-old boy left in critical condition after sexual attack by group at party
- 5 Paralysed man Darek Fidyka walks again after treatment by British doctors on brink of 'cure'
James Blunt finally admits the truth: 'You're Beautiful' is annoying
Downton Abbey review series 5, episode 5: Period drama falls disappointingly flat
Star Wars Episode 7 has almost finished filming
Fury, film review: Brad Pitt is intriguing as unsympathetic war hero
Batman v Superman: Side-kick Robin to be 'woman played by Jena Malone'
Cameron is warned 'no possibility' of UK reducing immigration and that bid to bring in quota on migrant workers would be illegal
Residents should throw a street party and mix with immigrant neighbours, councils told
Russell Brand threatened with arrest after filming outside Fox News headquarters
London bus driver 'kicks gay couple off for kissing'
Lord Freud: Tory welfare minister apologises after saying disabled people are 'not worth’ the minimum wage
Lord Freud hangs on as MPs of all parties 'call for his head' over disability comments