Nixon's Nixon

Previewed 18 July 2001, Opened 23 July 2001, Closed 1 September 2001 at the Comedy Theatre (now Harold Pinter Theatre)

On the evening of Wednesday 7 August 1974, President Nixon summoned Henry Kissinger to the White House for a private meeting.

On the morning of Tuesday 8 August, Richard Nixon resigned as 37th President of the United States.

Between these events lies the funny, poignant and speculative drama that unfolds in Nixon’s Nixon: Did they meet to work on Nixon's resignation speech, reminisce about the glory days of the Nixon administration, or plan a devious plot to keep Nixon in office? Russell Lees' fly-on-the-wall political comedy speculates on the possibilities.

Awarded the Edinburgh Fringe First in 1999, this comedy is an internationally acclaimed evening of hilarious voyeurism. Moments of farce interweave with scenes of tragic desperation as the two men engage in a thrilling psychological battle for political survival.

Cast features Keith Jochim as 'Nixon' and Tim Donoghue as 'Kissinger'. Both won the Backstage Award for Best Actor in 1998, and were nominated for Best Actor at the 1999 Edinburgh Festival. Directed by Charles Towers with sets by Chris Devilde, costumes by Gordon Divinney, lighting by Tina MacHugh and sound by Christopher Full.

The author, Russell Lees says: "It is an historical fact that the night before Richard Nixon announced his resignation from the presidency he summoned Henry Kissinger to meet with him. What happened that storied evening has been the subject of conjecture and dispute ever since. Nixon's Nixon is a work of fiction. The events depicted in the dialogue included in the play are in no way intended to represent the actual ations or opinions of either Richard Nixon or Henry Kissinger."

"Russell Lees' satirical two-hander is a speculation of what might have happened. Charles Tower's production features two fine American actors as Nixon and Kissinger, last just 90 minutes, and is a salutary and entertaining divertissement in these post-Archer dog days of how ruined public figures create their own fantasy versions of themselves... The fantasy-fuelling aspects of the case are what catches fire and captures the imagination in this witty, compelling script and the brace of brilliant performances. First seen at the Edinburgh Festival two years ago, I feared the show might shrivel in the West End. My fears proved false. Thanks to superb sound design by Chris Full and lighting by Tina MacHugh we are transported to hilariously re-enacted presidential meetings with Leonid Brezhnev, Chairman Mao and Golda Meir... The show is refreshingly unmixed with liberal compassion. And plain funny as a study of world-changing colleagues who had nothing whatsoever in common." The Daily Mail

"In Richard Lees' wickedly funny version of events, the two men relive their glory days meeting Chairman Mao, planning to bomb Cambodia, and so on while wrestling with the subtext of the evening: Nixon's desperate hope that Kissinger will try to talk him out of resigning; Kissinger's fervent desire to oust the president but to cling on to power himself. The result is a diverting piece in which historical events are batted about like ping-pong balls while the two men engage in a desperate struggle for self-preservation. Power is Lees' subject - on the world stage but also in the smaller arena of the sitting room... Charles Towers' enjoyable production seizes with relish on the comic potential of the script, and the two statesmen operate like a music-hall double-act. Keith Jochim and Tim Donoghue look remarkably like their characters, albeit touched up by the Spitting Image crew." The Financial Times

"Richard Nixon spent his last night before resigning as US president locked away with Henry Kissinger. It was no doubt a long and trying evening, but not as long and trying as Nixon's Nixon. Russell Lees is at pains to stress that his two-man play reconstructing what may have happened between the two men is pure fiction. He can rest assured that everyone will believe him. The characters he has created are not ruthless politicians enacting their final cat-and-mouse drama of power and ambition. They are clumsy ciphers who tell the saga of the ill-fated Nixon presidency through a confusing series of role plays, like management trainees at a corporate seminar. It is billed as a comedy, but the 'jokes' seem to depend entirely on funny voices, four-letter words and the not particularly hilarious observation that Kissinger is Jewish. And in performances as stiff as Bill Clinton only without the excitement, Keith Jochim and Tim Donoghue are woefully unconvincing. Jochim, in particular, lumbers around the stage like Quasimodo with a sore head, and no amount of jowl-wobbling will make him Tricky Dicky. All The President's Men it ain't. Not even some of them." The Daily Express

Nixon's Nixon in London at the Comedy Theatre previewed from 18 July 2001, opened on 23 July 2001 and closed on 1 September 2001