Part of this great venue’s emerging company showcase, a debut play from writer and director Simon Paris shows that Fictive Theatre is a talent to watch.
Lottery’s laughter starts straight away with an awkward meeting between two youngsters doing jury service. This leads us (a little too) neatly to the main event – the idea that the Prime Minister is chosen at random.
The scenario might benefit from more elaboration. How far in the future are we and did people vote not to vote? In a further twist, it’s a popularity contest for the winner – maybe more explanation might make the satire fuller.
The jokes are plentiful, with a keen eye on social anxiety and sexual tension, well delivered by Ava Pickett and Elliot Bornemann, with some nicely choreographed touches from Paris. The simple set by Magdalena Iwanska works hard, too, with shredded paper appearing continually. It’s economical, imaginative and effective.
As it happens, selecting the PM isn’t random but the decision of a mandarin in the Yes Minister tradition. Making Sir Humphrey look benign, Paris’ crazed creation isn’t even helpful enough to “foresee all sorts of unforeseen problems”. It’s a role Rhys Tees gets a lot from. Making the whole play less mad might make the satire sharper, but the surreal touches here are satisfying in their own right. Why our particular ingénue was chosen is yet another rich vein that could be explored.
Sadly, Lottery was on for one night only, but the potential here is clear, and it would be exciting to see this play refined and expanded.
Photo by Joe Brayford