Youngest sister kindly provided a late birthday present of lunch at the National Portrait Gallery plus tickets to see "This House" afterwards at the nearby Garrick Theatre. Additionally and quite unexepectedly there was also time for a flying visit to the Picasso portrait exhibition at the National Portrait Gallery after our lunch so quite a birthday treat to remember.
"This House" was fascinating. It was loosely based around the minority Labour Government of 1974 to 1979, the fall of which after some 4 years led to the election of the Tories under Margaret Thatcher
The play was far more interesting and entertaining than might have been envisaged by its political plot about the way in which the UK was governed some 40 years ago. The presence of Acoustic Jim with two talented guitarists who all played with aplomb during the times when the cast scattered across the stage dancing and singing, meant that the risk of any dryness during the political scenes was very successfully counter-acted.
The tension building up to the divisions in the House was excellently done as of course were the behind the political scenes attempts by Labour to persuade minority opposition parties to join them and similar attempts by the Tories to secure support for their efforts to pass motions of no confidence in the government. Labour managed for quite a time to create a Lib/Lab coalition which eventually fell apart though far far later than the Tories had expected.
A key moment of course was the time when the tradition of "pairing" to cover for sick MPs or absent Ministers of State was banned by the Tories on account of alleged Labour cheating and the ensuing difficulties, not excluding life or death moments that ensued.
Particularly enjoyable was a piece where the two parties chief whips at the end of the day momentarily forgot their political differences and went off for a drink together.
A very entertaining and thought provoking way of spending an autumnal Saturday.