I was lucky enough to nab a £15 ticket for the first night of Richard Bean’s new play at the National, Great Britain, a satire about the phone hacking scandal. Having only been announced a few days before, there was a huge buzz in the Lyttelton auditorium as the audience settled down to watch.
Billie Piper plays Paige Britain, an ambitious and unscrupulous journalist who will stop at nothing to get the story she wants – even hacking the phones of celebrities and victims of crime. Piper is excellent in the role – sharp and funny, she carries the play, and although her character is completely without ethics or morals, there is an odd appeal about her.
My favourite character, however, was the police commissioner Sully Kassam (played brilliantly by Aaron Neil), whose ability to put his foot in it is hilarious. The play in general is certainly a very funny one, but though it is very good, I think it stops just short of being excellent.
Still, all respect to the National for the planning and work which must surely have gone into this production.