Theatre: Shuman Plan

On Monday night I was unfortunate enough to find myself watching the Schuman Plan at the Hampstead Theatre. For a major theatre with its own artistic director it was a little odd that they were presenting something that seemed like a high school drama class production. It was earnest enough to be one. The only difference I could see was that it lacked youthful energy and acne. Huge slabs of dialogue were taken up with political history and there was at some point a character playing former PM Ted Heath mincing it up with "Land of Hope and Glory" playing loudly in the background. Oh at this point it is probably worth mentioning Schuman was the French Minister who came up with the idea that would become the basis for the European Union.

A was a bit annoyed that we went to see crap theatre. But I thought it had potential as a story but the writer decided to ignore all that and focus on a polemic about Britain in the EU instead. Schuman didn't feature at all. It was just as well I nodded off at various points in the first half as that made it more bearable. I should have taken heed that the writer's previous work was a musical about the Eurovision Song Contest. Maybe he'll have better luck next time. Michael Frayn was in the audience and served an interesting reminder as to what good writers can do with political dramas (see "Democracy" and "Copenhagen").

On the way home we debated how the critics would see it. I anticipated that it would be a unanimous pan. And the Telegraph, and The Financial Times did, but someone from the Independent thought it was entertaining. Maybe they stayed for the canapes afterwards which did go down well…

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