It’s 1979 inside Parabolic Theatre’s new show, in which audience members are asked to become advisers to a Labour government about to face a no-confidence vote.
It all takes place in one room at the Colab Factory, on an effectively designed set full of clever period details.
Although the C-word (“crisis”) is not encouraged, events quickly escalate as the audience tries to balance trade union demands, the press, inflation and the delicate political balance in a theatre show resembling a live-action board game.
What people want to help tackle – or derail – is left up to them, and within the boundaries of the world, they can act as they like. Want to sell the NHS or blackmail a Tory MP? The cast and the story will respond accordingly, and with near unfathomable smoothness and clarity. It would be impressive in any show, but in one so intricate it’s startling how well it works.
Crisis? What Crisis? is a complex story that requires fairly constant concentration and works best for those with a solid level of political know-how, but Tom Black (who also wrote the show) is impressively calm and collected as the leader, keeping everyone up to speed. Zoe Flint also does strong work as the deeply unimpressed economist Karen.
It’s impossible to take part and not feel the weight of the real-world political conversation happening at the moment and the looming election. While the show is frequently very funny, and hugely enjoyable, it raises nuanced and important questions about party politics, government and who we are as a country.