REVIEW: Yes, Prime Minister, Lyceum Theatre

Richard McCabe as Jim Hacker and Simon Williams as Sir Humphrey Appleby in Yes Prime Minister
Richard McCabe as Jim Hacker and Simon Williams as Sir Humphrey Appleby in Yes Prime Minister
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IN a famous scene from the television series of the same name, Sir Humphrey advises the PM that dull and boring policies should be unveiled from a bright and colourful backdrop to make them seem fresh and exciting, whereas a comforting, familiar background would make radical ideas seem less daunting.

As the popular show is transported to the stage it seems the same rules apply as a script injected with up-to-date topical references and surprising sub-plots is delivered from the traditional setting of the PM’s country home of Chequers.

Packed full of witty one-liners - and even wittier 35-liners from the word perfect Simon Williams (Sir Humphrey) – Yes, Prime Minister continues to tickle the funny bone at the same time as providing food for thought about the dubious inner workings of Westminster.

So there’s the unthinkable idea of Britain joining the Euro, the collapse of the economy, and the deal which could save PM Jim Hacker’s job, which centres around the outlandish task of finding a teenage prostitute to satisfy the whims of a randy foreign minister.

It’s all strung together in a script from original series writers Antony Jay and Jonathan Lynn, brimming with references to the new ministerial challenges of coalition governments, cuts, Twitter, and Blackberrys.

There are strong performances from a small cast, with Richard McCabe’s (Jim Hacker) spiralling desperation about his seemingly unwinnable situation a particular highlight, as well as the foppish mannerisms of Chris Larkin as Bernard Woolley.

Fans of the show will not be disappointed by this comedic coalition of old and new – in Sheffield until Saturday.