Yes Prime Minister

July 9th, 2013 at 4:00 pm by David Farrar

Around a year ago I purchased tickets for the Wellington production of “Yes, Prime Minister”, based on the famous TV series of the 1980s.

So with great excitement on Friday night I went along to the State Opera House to see the show.

However I left slightly disappointed.

Don’t get me wrong. It was a very good show, and I enjoyed it. It is definitely worth seeing if you enjoy politics and humour.

But it was also a reminder of how almost perfect the TV series was. The actors, the scripts, the mannerisms were sublime.

I spent the first 15 minutes of the show thinking that isn’t how Sir Humphrey would speak, that Bernard is too old, and that Jim Hacker not enough of a klutz.

After a while you do get used to the new cast, but they don’t gel quite as well as the originals.

The plot, which is needing a deal with a fictional Middle East state for an oil pipline to bail out Europe is well done, and has some classic elements of the show such as Sir Humphrey trying to sneak past Hacker that the deal will require the UK to join the Euro.

All in all, a good show, and a pleasant reminder of the TV series. But not in the same league.

6 Responses to “Yes Prime Minister”

  1. All_on_Red (3,532 comments) says:

    By chance I caught the original on Comedy Central last night.
    Still very funny. You should have stayed home.

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  2. F E Smith (3,504 comments) says:

    I am an avid fan of the series, owning all five series on DVD, plus the books that are, in my view, even funnier than the TV shows.

    It was therefore understandable that I would take the opportunity to see the play when I was in London in 2010, with the original cast (for the play) of David Haig as Hacker, Henry Goodman as Sir Humphrey, and Chris Larkin as Bernard, rather than with the one that you saw.

    With that caveat as to the cast, I pretty much echo your views, DPF. It was good, but lacking, although Haig and Goodman were superb. Larkin, as Bernard, was not so good, sadly. The script did let them down, with Hacker, as you point out, far less bumbling than in the original series.
    It was also more risque than the original was, and both unnecessarily so and also in a way that I didn’t find terribly funny.

    That said, the pipeline visual aid itself was outstanding!

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  3. Adolf Fiinkensein (3,638 comments) says:

    Was this the same cast which came to Australia from the UK last year?

    They were VERY good.

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  4. F E Smith (3,504 comments) says:

    Actually, I am being unfair to Larkin: it was Jonathan Slinger in the play

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  5. Fentex (3,332 comments) says:

    Earlier this year a new series of Yes Prime Minister was produced in Britain.

    It was appalling – pathetic writing, insipid actors and a laugh track. A thorough insult to the original.

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  6. Stephen Franks (58 comments) says:

    You are far too kind David. It could have been interesting as well as farcical. Instead the PM was a buffoon, and the plot just too contrived. For me it was farce without being funny.
    Interesting was the lack of belly laughing from the audience many of whom were public servants.

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