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Previewed 22 February 2007, Opened 1 March 2007, Closed 16 June 2007 at the Ambassadors Theatre in London
Steve Thompson's acclaimed political comedy Whipping It Up in London following an extended sold-out run at the Bush Theatre.
Black ties; cigar smoke; whiskey in cut glass. Westminster runs the country, but the Whips run Westminster... It's a week before Christmas, and the new Tory government is facing dissent over its latest Bill. With a majority of only three, the Whip's office is out in full force, and they'll stop at nothing to keep the strays in line. But they're in for a long night: boy scouts are rioting in Whitehall, the PM's golfing with the President, five Tory rebels are on the loose and the Chief Whip's playing at Santa - could this be the beginnings of a leadership challenge? Steve Thompson's scandalously funny new play Whipping It Up aims to blow the lid off the Despatch box and reveals the true secrets locked in the Whips' safe.
The cast for Whipping It Up in London features Richard Wilson, Robert Bathurst, Lee Ross, Nicholas Rowe and Helen Schlesinger who are all reprising their roles from the Bush Theatre staging in November 2006. They are joined by Kellie Bright. This production is directed by Tamara Harvey and the original Bush Theatre production was directed by Terry Johnson
"Steve Thompson's comedy is set in a future where David Cameron is Prime Minister. The play, about the workings of the Whip's Office is, at best, as beguiling as a fine episode of Yes, Minister... the script cracks along with the requisite cynicism." The Sunday Telegraph
"Steve Thompson has written a vitriolic political comedy that makes the average alligator pond look like a health spa. Terry Johnson's production is crowned by Richard Wilson's chief Whip: an aging walrus with the political loyalty of a guard dog, and the ethics of a jackal" The Sunday Times
"With a majority of just three, and the new Tory boys facing dissent over the 'tent-peg' Bill to curb travellers, the party's whips are cracking for all their worth; wheeling, dealing and lying. Politics doesn't come into it: it's all about power. When one of the whips hears the word 'conscience', he looks mystified. Robert Bathurst's excellent, debonair deputy chief whip, one of Nature's pinstriped patricians, makes delicious mincemeat of a fresh-faced Tory MP, scorning him mercilessly for using notes for his maiden speech. The chief whip (Richard Wilson), a hilariously foul-mouthed old school bruiser, is utterly contemptuous of the new generation of barrow-boy Tories and of his Labour opponent; indeed, of everything except victory. Steve Thompson's plot, which involves a blonde with a distracting decolletage, twists till the bitter end. Terry Johnson's production is top-notch, and filled with fine performances, including Helen Schlesinger, her eyes aglitter with triumph, as the Labour Party's Miss Whiplash." The Mail on Sunday
Whipping It Up in London at the Ambassadors Theatre previewed from 22 February 2007, opened on 1 March 2007 and closed on 16 June 2007