Hansard: Review by Stephen Vowles

Hansard is the verbatim record, the diary of daily Parliamentary proceedings on a day in the late 80s, presented as a very clever two handed play at The Lyttelton Theatre on the Southbank.

Lindsay Duncan and Alex Jennings play Diana and Robin Hesketh, a not so happily married couple. He is a conservative MP and she is the estranged wife unable to function, or so it seems, trapped in her Cotswold mansion, writing her diary whilst longing for a fight, a confrontation to get closure on aspects of their marriage. Written by Simon Woods, this punchy, verbal tennis match between the two is packed with precise political comment on Thatcher’s Local Government bill and the notorious Section 28 which would make it illegal for teachers to talk about homosexuality as a norm in schools. The script is full of witty one-liners laced with irony and sarcasm, it’s full of tit for tat remarks that made the 90 mins running time fly by and the build up to the end even more sensational. The two performances are impeccable, packed with drive and conviction with masterful direction by Simon Godwin. Although set very precisely on Saturday 28 May 1988 the play is totally relevant for today with the current feverish atmosphere in Westminster and the continuing saga of Brexit dominating  the press. The psychological game of words played out between these two is first rate with neither of them prepared to let their guard down, adding to the intensity of drama of this exceptional play about privilege and it’s effects.  Woods has written a totally absorbing play and with the high production values you can expect at the National, it all make for a superb night of British theatre where the beauty of the english language is clearly on show.  A must see!


Hansard will be broadcast live to over 700 Uk Cinema and worldwide on 7 November go to for further info.

Runs to the 25t November at Lyttelton Theatre at the National, Southbank, SE1 Box office  020 7452  3000

Photos by Catherine Ashmore

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