Playwright of the moment, James Graham currently has two plays featuring in the West End, only doors apart on St Martin’s Lane. INK, the story of the Sun newspaper opened at the Duke of York’s in September after transferring from the Almeida Theatre and at the Noel Coward Theatre, his take on the Labour party’s thorny past, LABOUR OF LOVE opened earlier this month with Martin Freeman and Tamsin Greig in the lead roles.
It’s very rare to have a new play open directly into the West End without a prior try-out lelsewhere. Martin plays David Lyons, Oxford educated Blairite MP for the East Midlands and Tamsin is Jean Whittaker, the long-time constituency office agent of the staunch leftie old guard persuasion. Described as a political romcom, LABOUR OF LOVE is set on the night of the 2017 election night rewinding back through the party’s history over the previous 27 years.
It’s full of gags such as this one when Jean comments on the party selecting the red rose when rebranding in the nineties, “it looks pretty, but it’s full of pricks.” Both Martin and Tamsin signed this sketch for me last weekend at the stage door.