Having seen the original National Theatre production of Great Britain back in August I was slightly worried about seeing it again. Things don’t tend to be as good the second time round (as I have learnt on a number of occasions!), but when I saw some £5 tickets on the National Theatre Entry Pass homepage I was very keen to go again as I can’t ever seem to resist a bargain. The story follows the journalists at The Free Press and their relationship with politicians, the police and celebrities.
Well, I am pleased to report that it was still just as enjoyable as the first time I saw it. There was lots of lines I didn’t remember from before (I have a feeling they’ve added some more UKIP jokes!) and there was even a different ending which I really liked. I’m glad lots of the original cast stayed on as they are truly excellent. I absolutely love Aaron Neil who plays Sully Kassam. His performance is hilarious and he had me in stitches every time he came on stage. Not to spoil anything for anyone wanting to see the show, but there are some amazing video remixes of the speeches he makes as Metropolitan Police Commissioner.
Another thing I love about the show is how perfectly relevant it is in todays society. Seeing all the parallels between the real phone hacking scandal and the events unfolding in the show is really clever. I can imagine that the atmosphere at The News Of The World was pretty similar to that of The Free Press! It’s also so exciting how the show came into being – they had to wait to start performances at the National due to advice from the lawyers (as the real phone hacking trial wasn’t over yet), and the first time I saw it they hadn’t even had time to have programmes printed due to the speed at which the first performance was put on. It’s a good example of how to make theatre modern and exciting for a wide range of audiences. On that note, I’m really looking forward to seeing The Vote, a play being broadcast on Channel 4 on the night of the 2015 General Election. I think this is a really exciting new era for theatre and I can’t wait to see where it goes next.
Finally, I’d just like to do a massive shout out to National Theatre Entry Pass, a scheme for 16-25 year olds allowing them to get £5 tickets to some National Theatre productions. I think it’s a brilliant idea to get more young people into theatre, particularly those who may be students who don’t have £50 to spend on a ticket to a show. I was expecting to be sat at the back of the Gallery, but got moved to fabulous seats in the Royal Circle – amazing considering the tickets there were worth £59 at full price!!!
Great Britain is booking until 10th January.