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‘There’s something for everyone’: Brexit play comes to Islington

Is the play, co-written by an ex-Islington Councillor, predicting the future?

02 November, 2018 — By Samantha Booth

Brexit co-author Tom Salinsky with actor Timothy Bentinck 

IT’S about four years since 52 per cent of the British public voted to leave the European Union. Another prime minister has been appointed in the Conservative Party and backbench pacts are destined to cause havoc.

A window into the future of Brexit has been opened by former Islington councillor Robert Khan, who, with co-writer Tom Salinsky, has written a play that gives audiences a taste of what is to come.

After a run at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, the play is being performed at the King’s Head Theatre in Upper Street.

“One strand of the play is the prime minister’s dealing with the EU negotiator and one of the things we discovered – whereas we were approaching it from a fairly traditional left- wing pro-EU point of view – is that there were Leavers who would watch those same scenes that we were writing to satirise people wanting to leave going ‘I told you, that’s just what they are like the EU, I told you’,” said Mr Salinsky, who admits he has a hard drive of “very bad plays” about Brexit before this final script.

“So hopefully, there’s something for everyone.

Ex-Islington councillor Robert Khan 

On his writing partner’s knowledge, Mr Salinsky said Mr Khan’s experience at the Town Hall and with senior politicians “feeds into everything”, adding: “They say research is the enemy of cliché but in our case all I have to do is ask Robert.”

At the launch this week, Mr Khan was somewhat coy and would not be drawn on his motivation for writing the play.

Brexit is the latest in a series of political plays by Mr Khan – who was a ward councillor for eight years but did not contest the elections in May – and producer and writer Mr Salinsky, who lives in Camden.

The play follows new PM Adam Masters – played by Holloway resident Timothy Bentinck – through a power struggle with the chief EU negotiator and appointing new cabinet ministers for Brexit and Trade.

Mr Bentinck –best known for his role as David Archer in BBC Radio 4 series The Archers – said: “And that from an actor’s point of view is a joy because not only do we have to learn lines, but we have to learn political concepts which we didn’t know about.

“It’s written by people who really know what they are talking about. But it’s funny as well, to pull that off is incredibly clever.”

Timothy Bentinck and Lucy Montgomery. Photo by Steve Ullathorne

But have the country’s politicians – including Labour leader and Islington North MP Jeremy Corbyn and former resident Boris Johnson – expressed an interest in it?

“I’ve had one MP, who I shouldn’t say who it is, but has said they are going to come and bring a gang,” said Mr Salinsky. “Apparently there’s a little gang of Westminster MPs that go and see anything Brexit-related.”

Mr Bentinck added: “We are desperate for them all to come and see and take notes and get advise on what to do, as clearly Adam Masters is more on top of it than any of them.”

The cast also includes Adam Astill, from BBC drama Our Girl and EastEnders, as political adviser Paul Connell and comedian Pippa Evans as MP Diana Purdy.

Brexit is at the King’s Head Theatre, 115 Upper Street, until November 17. For more details and to book call 020 7478 0160.

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