Committee at the Donmar Warehouse
06 July, 2017 — By Howard Loxton
Sandra Marvin in Committee. Photo: Manuel Harlan
This latest of the Donmar’s fact-based political shows is a verbatim musical. Its full title is The Public Administration and Constitutional Affairs Committee Takes Oral Evidence on Whitehall’s Relationship with Kids Company and it’s made up of the actual words spoken in a Portcullis House committee room on October 15, 2015 or provided in written evidence. Josie Rourke and Hadley Fraser have edited down to 90 minutes of text and lyrics with music by Tom Deering.
Kids Company, founded by Camila Batmanghelidjh to provide support for vulnerable inner-city children, collapsed only a month after receiving an emergency grant of £3million from the government. It had already received £42 million of public money and claimed to be caring for 36,000 children and young people. What went wrong?
The music heightens the confrontations as the chairman Bernard Jenkin MP (Alexander Hanson) interrogates Sandra Marvin as Camila in her multicolour dress and turban and Omar Ebrahim as Kids Company chairman and BBC executive Alan Yentob.
“The objective of this session is not to conduct a show trial,” he declares. “We want to learn some lessons.”
There are lively drawn MPs including Rosemary Ashe’s Kate Hoey and Anthony O’Donnell’s Paul Flynn – and lessons here about accountability for both politicians and charities.
Director Adam Penford adds movement to the formality of this elegant beech wood and green carpeted room that makes the process more watchable, but if you want the real thing it is on line at parliamentlive.tv
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