Set in real time on the night of the general election, The Vote is a unique piece of theatre, particularly with the inclusion of a live television screening. The setting is interactive from the moment you step inside the theatre, with each audience member being given their own ballot paper to vote on stage, setting the scene of the election splendidly.
This artistic take on the general election is a theatrical triumph.
The Vote is incredibly reminiscent of previous Donmar productions. The small stage space was used creatively with limited props. Written by James Graham and directed by Josie Rourke, the pair have produced a politically significant yet enjoyable play that manages to teach a lesson of the value of democracy, even whilst being humorous.
Out of the cast of fifty, the story revolves around the characters portrayed by Catherine Tate, Mark Gatiss and Nina Sosanya, observing the last few hours of polling in the small space of a primary school. These three characters are vastly different, from the axe wielding poll clark, a junior councilwoman who is aspiring for more and the exasperated returning officer who simply wishes for the ballots to be counted in time. This leads to several issues and an awful lot of sweets being eaten.
Notable members of the supporting cast include Dame Judy Dench and Hadley Frasier who add their own eclectic characters into what becomes an incredibly complicated web of interwoven stories; the fact that this all happens within an hour and a half is all the more spectacular.
It has to be said that the brightest stars of the production are without a doubt Mark Gatiss and Catherine Tate. The pair have done comedic theatre previously and the reprisal of their partnership is a wonderful one. Their characters are incredibly different and it is from this difference that the majority of the humour stems. Indeed, this is quite different from the previous plays that Gatiss has been involved in, with his characters typically meeting ill ends or being quite somber. However, Gatiss’ roots in comedy are obvious in this production, which is full of humour consistently until the very end.
While the entire play is hilarious, there are social and political satires that touch upon far darker issues than one would expect from this play. Riveting and with a key moral, The Vote provides a dramatic insight into the world of elections that voters often only see a snapshot of. This artistic take on the general election is a theatrical triumph. The Vote will have you on the edge of your seat; or edge of the standing box, as day tickets have only been available for the entire run due to its popularity.
The Vote was broadcast live on More 4 at 8:25pm on May 7 and will be available on 4oD.
This piece was originally published on 07/05/2015 by The Boar and forms part of my previous portfolio.