by Laura Ferguson
Set in the ever beautiful Dome Theatre at BATS, the director, Stephen Bain, used the split audience arrangement to his advantage, placing the characters so that while one actor talked to the other, no half of the audience was ever completely shut out from the action. The staging was brilliant and dynamic, effortlessly weaving between dialogue scenes in the play’s different settings and then also interjecting poetic, dream-like scenes. Even with the constant changes, the plot was easy to follow and the background music was enough to keep things interesting without intruding upon the show.
It would be remiss of me not to mention the portrayal of the titular main character, the politician’s wife, Kim, played beautifully by Jane Yonge. Kim is flawed, but three-dimensional, relatable in all the best and worst ways. Shallow, but wanting to better herself, she helps out with the refugees, despite her politician husband staunchly campaigning as anti-refugee. Yonge breezily makes her character to be likeable and philanthropic in a way that doesn’t alienate the audience; she isn’t preachy and she recognises her own hypocrisy. This embodiment is undoubtedly helped by the script, penned by the illustrious Angie Farrow, known for the award-winning plays, Before the Birds and Despatch.
Yonge is supported by a cast of equally talented artists. Jade Daniels inspires us and uses his innate gravitas to portray a politician saying “what he needs to” for votes. Daniels also gives us a character that isn’t black and white, but grey through and through, or would be if there weren’t an election to win. Scott Ransom showed great range between his two most prominent characters who were opposites in terms of personality and did both wondrously. The chameleon that is Jenny Rowan MacArthur astounded with a bold range of accents and the inhabiting of many different characters with an alacrity and an insight that was a delight to behold.
The Politician’s Wife inspires its audience with a Buckminster Fuller-ian view on social consciousness, purporting the ‘Earth is a spaceship’ philosophy that we are all in this together, not peoples of a particular country, but one species on a planet. However, it does this by showing the audience examples of why it is important to think this way, and avoids the cliché monologue of a pariah on a pedestal. Farrow also does not shy away from stating such views plainly, they are given as a character's opinion, but the audience is still encouraged to come to their own conclusions.
Overall, The Politician’s Wife is a brilliant theatre production that delves into many ‘hot button’ issues of today while keeping them fresh and with a fun and interesting focus on the main character, the politician’s wife, Kim’s struggles. Who, when we look at her, see all different sides of who we are and what we could, in fact, be.
The Politician’s Wife runs at BATS Theatre from the 22nd - 25th June and again from the 28th of June - 2nd of July. Be sure to get along to this and challenge your perspectives.