There is not a better time to have this playing – ‘Maggie & Ted: The Birth of Brexit’ at the White Bear Theatre Kennington

Kevin Quinn (24 October, 2019) Politics Culture

Edward Heath's very public opposition to Thatcher throughout her decade in office was in writer McManus’s own words “one of the premier shows in town … pure theatre” and he should know, he worked for both of them.

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With just days to go before the UK was due to Brexit, a deadlock in Parliament and the Prime Minister meeting with his cabinet to look at a snap election, the timing of Michael McManus’s current play at Kennington’s White Bear Theatre could not be better.

‘Maggie & Ted: The Birth of Brexit’ transports us back to the origins of two feuding political heavyweights and how the split between them focused increasingly on their disagreement over the UK-Europe relationship.

The running feud between Margaret Thatcher and Edward Heath began in 1975 when she successfully challenged him for the leadership of the Conservative Party.

His very public opposition to her throughout her decade in office was in McManus’s own words “one of the premier shows in town … pure theatre” and he should know, he worked for both of them.

He said: “Heath could be rude, insensitive, socially awkward; Thatcher could be blinkered, stubborn and even harsh. I do sincerely believe, however, that, for all their flaws, they were both patriots who had the best interests of this nation at heart. They just had different visions.”

“Ted Heath’s proudest achievement was negotiating UK entry into what was then the European Economic Community (latterly the European Union), but he is surely remembered, at least as vividly, for the protracted and self-destructive feud he vigorously pursued with his successor as Tory leader,” wrote McManus. .

“Everyone who lived through those times,” he added “has his or her own theory about how and why that public feud happened, and how it might have been avoided – but no one has ever explored the matter on a theatrical stage, with the avowed intention of allowing (and indeed informing and enabling) members of the audience to make their own judgements.”

Now is your chance – with a stela cast including Hugh Fraser, best known as Captain Hastings to David Suchet’s Poirot, playing Ted Heath – Ted & Maggie runs only until Saturday, October 26. And unlike Brexit there is not likely to be an extension.

Tickets are just £18/£12 concession but if you really want to join in this truly momentum piece of political theatre on Friday night there will be a gala performance that could well transport you back to the House of Commons of the 1980s from guests expected to attend. For full details and to book your place click here

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