In the largely disappointing Rufus Norris regime at the National, the premiere of Hansard was unexpected. A one-act, 90-minute play, set in the Eighties, about the travails of a Conservative politician? It sounded like the sort of thing that simply didn’t get put on very much these days, especially when it’s the first play by an actor (Simon Woods, hitherto best known as Mr Bingley in the 2005 Keira Knightley version of Pride and Prejudice). One sits back on the first night and imagines that one is going to watch an exercise in Tory-bashing. A play with the nuance and intelligence of This House seems too much to hope for.
For the first hour, this is pretty much what one gets.