On Stage: Dead Sheep, New Theatre, Cardiff

Its over 25 years since sacked Foreign Secretary, Geoffrey Howe delivered one of the deadliest political speeches ever made that brought Margaret Thatcher’s reign as British Prime Minister to an end.

Jonathan Maitland’s political comedy drama, Dead Sheep, focuses on Howe’s relationship with the British PM in the years that led up to that speech and Howe’s relationship with his wife, Elspeth, who would frequently challenge the decisions of The Iron Lady.

Paul Bradley and Steve Nallon lead the cast respectively as Geoffrey Howe and Margaret Thatcher. Bradley totally embraces the role of Howe, balancing comedy with poignancy while bringing more understanding to a public figure that was not best known for his public speeches. Nallon, (remembered for providing Thatcher’s voice in Spitting Image), becomes the total caricatured embodiment of The Iron Lady in style, presentation and sound and works wonderfully with Bradley on some wonderful exchanges between their two characters. Carol Royle is caught between the pair, blurring feistiness with elegance as Elspeth and providing some fabulous moments and exchanges with her two male leads.

Giving sterling support are Graham Seed, Christopher Villiers and John Wark who take on numerous roles of cabinet ministers while providing frequent comic narrative. One particular highlight is Villiers taking on the roles of several famous politicians during a Prime Ministers Question Time. His take on John Redwood, particularly got a big laugh from the audience.

Dead Sheep makes it finally safe to start laughing at the world of politics again by delivering well-timed topical references, larger than life characters with well crafted comedy and several poignant moments. It runs at The New Theatre until October 15.

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