Preview: The Coalition

Grace Murray 6 June 2015

It’s a month since much of Cambridge watched in various states of astonishment, jubilation and horror as David Cameron claimed a majority for the Tories. Now, according to writer-director Jonathan Shamir, behind Homerton Amateur Theatrical Society’s political satire The Coalition, it’s time for us to laugh – at ourselves as well as the politicians.

“What inspired me to put on the show was an article by Jeremy Paxman about the lack of biting satire in British politics,” Shamir explains. “He was longing for the glory days of Spitting Image and explaining that it is telling that the British people can no longer even connect to politics through comedy.”

The Coalition hopes to give students a “once-in-a-Cambridge-lifetime opportunity” to relive a version of the 2010 election and the genesis of the Cameron-Clegg partnership, “plus a little extra”. It’s that “little extra” that gives the play its edge as it careers from scandal to scandal; like Spitting Image, it mines popular opinion for its impressions, which notably include a female Owen Jones and a male Theresa May. For those of us still reeling from this year’s batch of election memes and spin, it’s close to home.

Shamir admits that keeping the satire up to date was occasionally challenging. “I wrote it three months before the election so it was outdated by the time I found I had a slot … I was predicting a continuation of the Lib-Tory coalition so when that didn’t materialise the ending needed to change.”

He’s predictably cagey about the moment the show has chosen for that ending, but promises that the downfall of the Liberal Democrats is suitably pointed. So will Shamir tell us how he voted?

“I won’t reveal how I voted but know that I have no partisan allegiances and voted based on merit of the manifestos.” One can’t help but suspect that the real targets of The Coalition’s satire are not the authors of those manifestos, but those of us who’ve never read them.

'The Coalition' plays at Homerton Auditorium on 9th, 10th and 12th June. Tickets are available here.