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YES, PRIME MINISTER

LYCEUM THEATRE

First it was a popular TV show – a favourite of Mrs Thatcher – then a West End hit. For the last 30 years Yes, Minister and its spin-off Yes, Prime Minister, has been a formula which keeps on giving for writers Antony Jay and Jonathan Lynn. And deservedly so for this is classy political farce which slips some barbed home truths between the laughs.

It’s been updated for the Coalition, although PM Jim Hacker, played by Michael Fenton Stevens, whom you may not recall sang the lead on Spitting Image’s 1986 number one hit The Chicken Song, does not have a Nick Clegg to contend with.

He does, though, have Sir Humphrey, here played by Crispin Appleby, as oily as a slick on the North Sea with an impressive range of postures which would do credit to a rubber doll. Michael Matus is the pedantic PPS Bernard Woolley.

The improbable plot – to find three hookers for the foreign minister of an oil-rich Central Asian state – detracts a little although the dialogue fairly crackles. bThe play sags in the middle and is 20 minutes too long but still makes a pleasant evening. It runs until Saturday.

Martin Dawes

The full monty

Sheffield Theatres’ production of The Full Monty, is to open in London’s West End next year.

Simon Beaufoy’s stage adaptation of his screenplay for the 1997 hit film about about six out-of-work Sheffield steelworkers who form a troupe of male strippers, premiered at the Lyceum in February is now on tour taking in 11 regional theatres and has generated £7m worth of seats.

Producers David Pugh and Dafydd Rogers will open it at the Noel Coward Theatre on Thursday, February 20, 2014 for a 16-week run up to June 14. All tickets for the previews will be at 1990s prices – with a top price of £29.50. After its London premiere, tickets will range from £9.50 to £52.50.

In the meantime Evans will direct This is My Family, a new musical comedy by Tim Firth (Calendar Girls), which he directs at the Studio Theatre in June.