The Prickle (@ThePrickle) April 11, 2018
Writer James Graham is known for award-winning, contemporary political theatre (Ink; This House; Labour of Love) and his new play, ostensibly about how Major Charles Ingram (Gavin Spokes) cheated his way through coughing to win the million pound jackpot on Who Wants To Be A Millionaire?, is unbelievably epic in scope, covering themes of justice, mob-mentality, reality television, the justice of art, and the role of an audience, all in a whip-speed two and a half hours.
The first act is narrated by the lawyer for the prosecution (Paul Bazely), at the end of which we the audience are baying for Major Ingram’s blood, mashing guilty on our Ask The Audience keypads to an overwhelming majority. A potted history of British gameshows, from Bullseye to The Price Is Right, features Keir Charles hilariously impersonating every characteristic host (including Chris Tarrant) in a series of lightning fast costume changes.
The second act is narrated by the lawyer for the defence (Sarah Woodward), and this is where Graham’s talent shows for extremely in-depth research and an ability to rack up the tension on a case for which we already know the outcome. We keypad vote again at the finale, and the outcome is startling.
The play could be accused of having its cake and eating it too: criticising the entertainment spectacle around the media storm at the time, and then actually mounting the (previously unseen) legal trial onto the West End stage for our pleasure. But, like all good political theatre, this production knows: if you entertain us, we will listen.
£20 day seats are available at the box office.