Last Saturday night I had tickets to go see The Vote at the Donmar Warehouse. For this production all tickets were allocated via ballot an I was lucky enough to be given the chance to buy a pair (my mum was horrified by this – I won a competition to give someone else my money?!). It had been so long since I’d been to the theatre and only the second time I’d ever been to the Donmar, but it is a wonderfully intimate space and The Vote has to be one of the best productions I have ever seen.
This is partly due to the cast – Mark Gatiss, Nina Sosanya, and Catherine Tate lead an ensemble of 50 actors. Gatiss is in charge of a Lambeth polling station while Sosanya and Tate are handing out ballot papers. Like with all monumentous occasions, the setting is surprisingly normal. The polling station – where the future leader of the United Kingdom will be decided – is in a school gymnasium.
The play is set in real time and follows the people who come into this station in the at 90 minutes of the election. All of humanity comes in. Some of them come in, collect their paper, vote, and leave while others make their presence known. There are first time voters (rather depressingly not really understanding or knowing what they are doing), a lesbian coupe who want to commemorate the occasion by taking a selfie with a selfie stick, a very drunk man who decides to take his ballot paper out of the station, and various party candidates (the Conservative candidate is suave and slick and very charismatic. The Independent candidate is very, very funny).
Sosanya, Tate, and Gatiss are on almost throughout and, as this is going to be broadcast on the 7th of May, I am going to be as spoiler free as possible. Sosanya and Tate make a mistake embroiling all three of them in various schemes to rectify the mistake without anyone else knowing a mistake has been made in the first place. Because none of them can actually say what has happened when there are voters in the polling station, Haribos are used instead. Possibly the best political metaphor ever.
With every production of The Vote a guest star plays Tate’s brother-in-law. the man has one line to say before being pushed back out of the doors by Tate. Donmar are announcing this guest star five minutes before the production starts every evening and I completely forgot to check while I was waiting for the play to start. So I had no idea and gasped along with everyone else when you know nothing Jon Snow himself , Kit Harrington walked onto the stage.
Besides the three leads and
Jon Snow Kit Harrington there was also Judi Dench and her real life daughter, Finty Williams, who also played a mother and daughter in the play. When Dame Judi danced and said the f word I died with laughter.
And that was one of the best thing about this play – it was funny. Really funny. The whole audience was entertained for the whole 90 minutes. Never once did I wish I could check my phone. I don’t know what it’ll be like when it’s broadcast on TV or which bits they’ll have to cut out for the ad breaks (I foresee a hula hooping scene sadly vanishing) but I hope people sit down and watch it.
It’s very, very good and very, very funny. .