There was a palpable air of expectation in the theatre as the audience awaited the start of this much heralded play about the events leading to the demise of Margaret Thatcher.  This, the first play written by writer and broadcaster Jonathan Maitland, is the true story of how the Iron Lady, once considered to be the most powerful woman in the western world  –  and at the same time the most divisive Prime Minister of modern times – was brought down by her one time friend and political soul mate, her ex-Foreign Secretary, Geoffrey Howe.

The play gets it curious title from an episode back in 1978 when Denis Healey, the then Labour Chancellor of the Exchequer, had likened an attack from Howe as “like being savaged by a dead sheep”.  The play, of course, had particular poignancy for many in the appreciative Eastbourne audience as it also covered the dreadful assassination of local MP Ian Gow.

After two hours of drama full of excellent performances from the six-strong cast, the bar was packed with Friends eager to meet them  –  and they were not to be disappointed.

Front: Paul Bradley, Steve Nallon, Graham Seed Back: Christopher Villiers, John Wark, Oliver Dawe (Associate Director

Front: Paul Bradley, Steve Nallon, Graham Seed
Back: Christopher Villiers, John Wark, Oliver Dawe (Associate Director

It was an absolute pleasure to welcome Steve Nallon, whose portrayal of Margaret Thatcher had been so utterly convincing (although we did hear that the high heels were crippling!) and Paul Bradley who had skilfully penned a delightful and witty speech in response to the welcome from Friends’ Chairman, Lesley Raven. He said how wonderful it had been to be invited to meet some of the audience and compared their treatment in Eastbourne to experiences in some of the other places they had visited on tour:  in Doncaster they had to compete with lively horseracing crowds, in Birmingham the security for the Conservative Conference and in Exeter  –  the hills!

paul-bradley-responding-to-the-welcome-with-chairman-lesley-looking-on

There had been memorable performances from other members of the cast, including some amazing mimicry of Bernard Ingham (which we heard was back-breaking!), Alan Clark and the lisping Brian Walden.  It was an absolute pleasure to chat to them.  We were sorry that a prior engagement prevented Carol Royle from joining us  –  but perhaps next time!  Thank you all for giving so much of your time and we wish you every success with the remainder of your travels with this refreshing play.