Bristol Theatre News

Review – Yes, Prime Minister at the Bristol Hippodrome Review

This timely staging of political satire Yes, Prime Minister, brings the mishaps of Sir Humphrey Appleby, Bernard Woolley and Jim Hacker, into the fresh setting of modern day without losing its original appeal.

The new comedy play is written by original writers Antony Jay and Jonathan Lynn. It features a witty, sparkling script showing the ‘realities’ of life inside Westminster.

Towards the end of Act One, the pace begins to flag a little and the interval is a welcome moment. But Act Two flows really well as the situation becomes more desperate.

PM Jim Hacker – in the only top job that requires no previous experience – is now in charge of a coalition government. With the aid of Special Advisor Claire Sutton, it is often a game of pitting wits somewhere between Europe, the Civil Service intent on protecting their interests, and topically, the BBC.

The PM, initially appears as a bumbling buffoon whose strings are being pulled by the intelligent yet wonderfully devious Sir Humphry. But with support from his Special Advisor and voice of morality, the Principal Private Secretary, Jim Hacker is more than a match for his Cabinet secretary.

These four main characters muddle through an evening all trying to achieve their own objectives. As an added pressure on the PM, the BBC are intent on airing a damning TV report the next morning. And if things can’t get any more complicated, the team are stuck with the moral and practicalities of acquiring three call girls for the Kumranistan Minister to secure a significant loan.

The casting of the show is top notch. Michael Fenton Stevens as Jim Hacker, provides some great Fawltyesque moments as he heads towards a break down. Sir Humphrey Appleby is played by Crispin Redman, whose inability to give a simple yes or no answer  is hysterical. But best moment has to go to Michael Matus as Bernard Woolley, when desperately rifling through a PR folder to give approved answers to a BBC journalist on the phone.

You won’t need to have seen the original series for this complex and intelligent comedy to entertain. Don’t be put off by its fuddy duddy appearance. This is a great show affirming everything you already knew about what happens in the corridors of power.


At the Bristol Hippodrome until Saturday 25 May 2013