Choice: Theatre

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Gasping, Watford Palace Theatre (01923 225671) 7.45pm

In the early Eighties, when Manchester University Drama Department graduate Ben Elton was hanging around Covent Garden trail-blazing alternative comedy, no-one would have predicted that he would win the 1998 Olivier award for comedy playwrighting. He did just that with Popcorn, now happily ensconced in a long West End run. I shall be kind and draw a veil over his latest play, and instead direct your attention to the one which started the ball rolling. Originally written in the Eighties, the era that begat big-time designer water (never forget that Evian spelt backwards is naive), Gasping springs from the big-money notion of marketing air. Thanks to a ruthless advertising campaign, personalised, detoxed pure air takes off... with deeply ungreen consequences. In order to "tone up" its topicality, Elton has given the play a Blairite wash 'n' brush-up to keep its privatising concerns suitably topical.

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