MPs have had their greedy noses in the expenses trough once again.
This time it’s pushing though heating bills, some for several thousands of pounds if the headlines are to be believed.
Some people are forced to choose between eating or heating - not our MPs, and so this outrageously funny farce is set in a parliamentary world of dodgy receipts, phoney second homes and panic in case the press finds out.
Relevant it most certainly is. “Would you trust an MP?” asks a character, and the groan from a full house said it all.
The play, by Dan Patterson and Colin Swash, is set in May 2009 and Gordon Brown’s gang of political shapeshifters represent a government in meltdown.
But Labour backbencher Robert Houston ( the splendid Ben Miller) seeing which way the wind is blowing resigns from the Labour party and moves over to Mr Cameron’s lot.
Houston is ambitious and has his eye on a cabinet seat.
But much of his luxury flat has been paid for on expenses, like his second home, and his ambitious plans will certainly draw down on him the attentions of the Conservative party’s chief snooper, Sir Norman Cavendish (Simon Shepherd) who is arriving to discuss Houston’s cabinet potential, a post on the greasy pole of politics that must carry no taint of anything clandestine.
At this point the play, directed in great style by Terry Johnson, set the theatre roaring with derisive laughter, and named names including Margaret Moran who fiddled the taxpayer out of £53,000, David Chaytor who was in prison for four and a half months of an 18 month sentence after falsely claiming rent payments, Douglas Hogg, who claimed thousands of pounds for cleaning his moat, and the Education Secretary Michael Gove’s claim for the cost of two elephant lamps (items which feature in the set dressings of this play).
The pace of the evening is continually superb as the damning evidence of duck houses, luxury furniture and stylish garden artifacts are hidden away in cupboards and the garage, all with the help of the eccentric Russian maid, whose brother is a killer. Then the evening grows outrageous as Cavendish arrives to enjoy the weekly punishment of a sexy young dominatrix where, clad only in a baby napkin, he lives out his louche fantasy of being whipped by Angela Merkel.
This is the funniest and best-written farce I have seen in years, with a good performance from James Musgrave as Seth, Houston’s incompetent son. It should do very well in London, where all MPs should be ordered to see it, naturally paying for the ticket on their expenses.
Runs until November 9.