Being able to see this show really did feel like winning a golden ticket; it’s already been so talked about and I feel so lucky to have seen such an exciting and innovative play. Set to be broadcast on More4 at the exact time events in the play are occurring, The Vote follows the final 90 minutes of polling day at a marginal constituency in the 2015 general election and all that can (and inevitably does) go wrong in such a short space of time.
It would definitely be a challenge for a show to be any more relevant than this, and James Graham has crafted an intelligent and witty script with plenty of hilarious references to campaign events. It features a SNP fan who’s granddaughter is to be named Nicola and an exacerbated Catherine Tate telling her son to stop listening to Russell Brand (despite the fact she’d brought him the book for christmas!). The to the minute timings of the play and a large clock on the back wall helps to add to an exciting build up of tension as the polling station gets nearer to closing time.
It’s impossible not to be enchanted by Robert Jones’ school gym set. The nostalgic detail is enough to take anyone back to their primary school days, with the intricate wooden tiled floor, rickety old vaults and tiny colourful chairs. Even the doors have been completely transformed into their primary school setting, painted a particularly lairy shade of primary blue with square-wired glass. This really adds to the excitement and immediate nature of the play and seems a fitting tribute to the many polling stations all over the country today, making it hardly a challenge to imagine the some of the events in the play occurring in real life. Getting to go on stage before the show to cast your own vote really added another level of engagement and excitement to the play, though I would have loved to know what the audience result was!
The cast reads like a who’s who of British theatre, with so many famous faces it’s hard not to spend the whole time thinking ‘I’m sure I recognise them from somewhere’… ‘I’ve seen them in something before’… or ‘hey look, that’s Judi Dench!’. It’s clear that this exciting new televised play has attracted an incredibly talented cast and the polling station location makes it ideal for this huge gathering of people in which everyone gets a moment to shine. As each person enters the school gym, you wonder what their story is, or what trouble they’re going to get up to in the polling station.
The central characters of presiding officer Steven (Mark Gatiss), and the two clerks (Catherine Tate and Nina Sosanya) carry the play with ease and keep the story moving forward with all the comings and goings in the station. Paul Chahidi shines as a hilarious independent candidate with an unwavering dedication to fighting the town’s one way system. Other highlights include Alice Hewkin as a first time voter asking Siri who to vote for and Pandora Colin and Wanda Opalinska as a couple celebrating their anniversary by taking a ‘democraselfie’.
The Vote is a truly special and exciting new piece of theatre that I’m definitely looking forward to watching again on More4 tonight; I highly recommend you do the same!
The Vote will be broadcast live tonight on More4 from 8:25