Yes Prime Minister – The Stage play, 2010
With Theatres across the country currently closed due to Corona Virus, we thought we’d bring the theatre to you as we turn the clock back to 2010 remembering a stage play that followed the pattern of one of the classics: Yes Prime Minister.
In early 2010 an announcement was made that the writers of Yes Minister and Yes Prime Minister were to collaborate once more on the subject of their classic TV comedy Yes Minister, this time the production would take the form of a stage play.
A new cast took to the stage at the Chichester Festival Theatre, on 13th May 2010. After a brief respite the show was revived at the Gielgud Theatre, in London’s West End from 17th September 2010 until 15th January 2011. As well as the characters we knew and loved there was the introduction of a new one in the form of Claire Sutton, who became Hacker’s special policy advisor.
After it’s West End success the play began a tour of the United Kingdom in February 2011, with a revised cast Simon Williams as Sir Humphrey Appleby, Richard McCabe as Jim Hacker and Charlotte Lucas as Claire Sutton.
It returned to the West End in July 2011 for a 10-week run at the Apollo Theatre in Shaftesbury Avenue, with Williams and McCabe reprising their roles.
The play then went back on a tour of the United Kingdom, before returning to the West End with a new script. All new Yes Prime Minister played at the Trafalgar Studios, in Whitehall, in June 2012.
This production, while following the spirit and tone of the original series in many respects, made some subtle changes to the TV series.
It was set contemporaneously at Chequers, the Prime Minister’s country residence, as opposed to the corridors of West Minister, with BlackBerrys frequently in evidence (technology having moved on some since the original version) and even included a topical reference to a coalition agreement which Sir Humphrey had drafted (the Conservatives and Liberal Democrats having formed a coalition government in Britain in May 2010).
The plot was a little more provocative and risqué than most of those seen previously (including a debate about the ethics of procuring a fifteen-year-old as a sexual partner for a visiting dignitary, a proposition which Claire suggested might be spun in the national interest as a “euro-job”) and included some stronger expletives (reflecting perhaps their widely reported use among New Labour’s hierarchy between 1997 and 2010). There was also a higher element of traditional farce.
Jim Hacker – David Haig (Richard Mc Cabe in the touring version)
Sir Humphrey Appleby – Henry Goodman (Simon Williams in the touring version)
Bernard Wooley – Jonathan Slinger
Claire Sutton – Emily Joyce (Charlotte Lucas in the touring version)
Written By: Anthony Jay and Jonathan Lynn
Original Theatre: Chichester Festival Theatre
Original Production Dates (non touring): 13th May to 5th June 2010