Coalition, Pleasance Dome, Edinburgh



Every politician needs a soundbite. For Matt Cooper MP, it’s “This party will not be broken on my watch”. Unfortunately for him, the party in question is the Liberal Democrats and it's breaking up faster than a matchstick raft on a waterfall.

Cooper, played with verve and shades of Blackadder by Thom Tuck, is the hapless anti-hero of Coalition, a hot-off-the-press satire written by someone who knows a bit about the impotence of being in power. Robert Khan has worked for the Labour party for a decade and is currently a Councillor for Islington in North London.

Together with co-creator Tom Salinsky he has put together a winning slate of comedian-performers: alongside Tuck, nominee for Best Newcomer at the 2011 Edinburgh Comedy Awards, Phill Jupitus stars as a silver-tongued Tory Minister without Portfolio (but with something of the night about him in a rather too campy turn), Jo Caulfield is a slinky, cynical Chief Whip and News Quiz staple Simon Evans puts in a cameo as the "marmelade-y voiced" PM.

The action unfolds four years into the current government, or “coalition of losers” as it's billed here. Cooper, a DPM who hasn’t spoken to his PM for six months is struggling with image problems (the opinion polls have him pegged as a "yellow amoeba"), the economy is in freefall and his party is on the verge of meltdown - literally, as he’s about to renege on his anti-Nuclear stance to unveil 12 new reactors.

The writers clearly know and love to hate their subject - the dirty deals in corridors, the niggly differences between 'strategy' and 'tactics', loyalty versus principle. There are some killer lines too. "If all I cared about was power", explodes Cooper accused of putting his own ambitions ahead of the party's. "Why on earth would I have joined the Lib Dems?"

The problem is that like its subject, Coalition doesn't quite know what it is - part House of Cards-style political intrigue, part comedy satire, it's two things yoked together that don't quite click. Veep has already probed the problems of being the second most powerful person in the country with a sharper stick.

Still, from Tuck's whirlwind of ineffectual bluster to Alistair Barrie's bluff Northen rebel, perpetually growling at being “handcuffed to an oil slick of Tories” there are no weak links in the cast. Phil Mulryne is a particular pleasure as the preternaturally smooth-faced, lightly smug young upstart with his eye on the main prize. Come to think of it, he looked worryingly familiar.

To 26 August, not 13 (0131 556 6550)

Arts and Entertainment
War veteran and father of Peter and Laust Thoger Jensen played by Lars Mikkelson

TVBBC hopes latest Danish import will spell success

Arts and Entertainment
Carey Mulligan in Far From The Madding Crowd
FilmCarey Mulligan’s Bathsheba would fit in better in The Hunger Games
Arts and Entertainment
Pandas-on-heat: Mary Ramsden's contribution is intended to evoke the compound the beasts smear around their habitat
Iart'm Here But You've Gone exhibition has invited artists to produce perfumes
Arts and Entertainment
U2's Songs of Innocence album sleeve

tvU2’s latest record has been accused of promoting sex between men

Arts and Entertainment
Alison Steadman in Inside No.9
tvReview: Alison Steadman stars in Inside No.9's brilliant series finale Spoiler alert
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment

ebooksNow available in paperback
Arts and Entertainment

  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating

    By clicking 'Search' you
    are agreeing to our
    Terms of Use.

    'It was first time I had ever tasted chocolate. I kept a piece, and when Amsterdam was liberated, I gave it to the first Allied soldier I saw'

    Bread from heaven

    Dutch survivors thank RAF for World War II drop that saved millions
    Britain will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power - Labour

    How 'the Axe' helped Labour

    UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power
    Rare and exclusive video shows the horrific price paid by activists for challenging the rule of jihadist extremists in Syria

    The price to be paid for challenging the rule of extremists

    A revolution now 'consuming its own children'
    Welcome to the world of Megagames

    Welcome to the world of Megagames

    300 players take part in Watch the Skies! board game in London
    'Nymphomaniac' actress reveals what it was really like to star in one of the most explicit films ever

    Charlotte Gainsbourg on 'Nymphomaniac'

    Starring in one of the most explicit films ever
    Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi: The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers

    Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi

    The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers
    Vince Cable interview: Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'

    Vince Cable exclusive interview

    Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'
    Iwan Rheon interview: Game of Thrones star returns to his Welsh roots to record debut album

    Iwan Rheon is returning to his Welsh roots

    Rheon is best known for his role as the Bastard of Bolton. It's gruelling playing a sadistic torturer, he tells Craig McLean, but it hasn't stopped him recording an album of Welsh psychedelia
    Russell Brand's interview with Ed Miliband has got everyone talking about The Trews

    Everyone is talking about The Trews

    Russell Brand's 'true news' videos attract millions of viewers. But today's 'Milibrand' interview introduced his resolutely amateurish style to a whole new crowd
    Morne Hardenberg interview: Cameraman for BBC's upcoming show Shark on filming the ocean's most dangerous predator

    It's time for my close-up

    Meet the man who films great whites for a living
    Increasing numbers of homeless people in America keep their mobile phones on the streets

    Homeless people keep mobile phones

    A homeless person with a smartphone is a common sight in the US. And that's creating a network where the 'hobo' community can share information - and fight stigma - like never before
    'Queer saint' Peter Watson left his mark on British culture by bankrolling artworld giants

    'Queer saint' who bankrolled artworld giants

    British culture owes a huge debt to Peter Watson, says Michael Prodger
    Pushkin Prizes: Unusual exchange programme aims to bring countries together through culture

    Pushkin Prizes brings countries together

    Ten Scottish schoolchildren and their Russian peers attended a creative writing workshop in the Highlands this week
    14 best kids' hoodies

    14 best kids' hoodies

    Don't get caught out by that wind on the beach. Zip them up in a lightweight top to see them through summer to autumn
    Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi: The acceptable face of the Emirates

    The acceptable face of the Emirates

    Has Abu Dhabi found a way to blend petrodollars with principles, asks Robert Fisk