Dead Sheep , A Show To Bleat About.

Dead Sheep

Theatre Severn

Monday3rd -Saturday 9th  October2016

 

"Being attacked by Geoffrey Howe is like being savaged  by a dead sheep," claimed Dennis Healey. Like it or not the Thatcher years are now remarkable enough to have made it into the big book of British history. It really happened. But there is no better way to remember that than with a laugh and a smile.

Johnathon Maitland’s play, "Dead Sheep," is an extraordinarily good way of reflecting through those years and making sense of what was at the time, a political nightmare of extremities.

The play focusses on the famous departure speech of Geoffrey Howe following the build up and finally his resignation,  Howe was deeply entrenched in Europe and he believed that was  where the future of Britain lay. He was strictly pro- E.U. but the play makes it plain that Mrs. Thatcher was suffering our membership. Rather like some prophetic dream, she saw that Britain’s real future lay as we actually find it now. I know, a political nightmare again for some but not for others. As all good satire should be it is fearless and it is probing.

Steve Nallon has been playing the irrepressible Mrs. T. for many years and was a founder member of the Spitting Image team where he provided the voice of the Iron Lady. He is excellent; one wonders what Mrs. Thatcher made of his performance lampooning her every Sunday night at peak viewing time all those years ago?

With a plethora of stars from TV, Film and Theatre, "Dead Sheep," is pacey, historic and hilarious. We can laugh now as the mantle of responsibility for our country’s needs lies now in other hands, but at the time satire was much more than a funny show. Satire was the essential and very British way we have of getting heard without causing too much of a disturbance.

Tonight the audience was modest in size but the show runs all week and this is a show that is too good to miss. If you were there in the Nineteen Eighties then one suggests you should be there at Theatre Severn to look what Maitland has done to our past.

Paul Bradley (Nigel in Eastenders) is superb as the warm, Welsh character of Geoffrey Howe. It becomes plain throughout the show that working for Margaret Thatcher was fine so long as you were playing to her rules. It seems woe betide anyone brave enough to question her and in such a public manner as Howe did,in his famous resignation speech.

This is a talented cast, beautifully rehearsed and so tightly choreographed. One only has to witness the phone scene when Howe is trying to get a meeting with his Boss. It is the tightest and funniest piece of theatre that we have seen for some time and it is moments like that that hold this show head and shoulders above a lot of other satirical pieces.

They were funny days the Nineteen Eighties, and far too much happened to us as a people to let them just fade, forgotten and unheralded. "Dead Sheep," will play and play it is a superbly packaged and wonderfully presented little shop of hilarity.

 If we are to think of the past and all that went before then there is no better way to do it than to sit down and have a good laugh, and consequently there is no better show than, " Dead Sheep," to do it to. Excellent.

 

This is a Four Star Review

Owen J.Lewis

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Owen Lewis Owen Lewis

Owen Lewis was born fifty something years ago in the land of the black puddings. For the geographically challenged that is in Lancashire. Moving to Shropshire From 1970 Owen was brought up in Church Stretton. His first real job was in radio. After starting on BBC Radio Shropshire he became known on Marcher Sound, broadcasting throughout the North West for several years. After a university degree course in Theatre, Owen became an actor and went on to play "Pirate Bill" in The Alton Towers Hotel. He also made several television appearances. Returning to university he took his PGCE enabling him to teach. That saw him on the Essex coast as a drama teacher and latterly as a Creative Educational Liaison Officer making films and creating new teaching methods to employ on children in need of more help in their fundamental learning skills. Published playwright Owen ultimately wants a house boat in Amsterdam to focus on his work as Playwright and Poet.

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