SHIRLEY MANDER

27 May

Shirley Mander
By Gregory Evans
At the Playground Theatre
Shirley Porter was head of the Westminster Council, known by her colleagues as The Leader.
She first came to public notice when she sold off the three graveyards in her constituency. Though peoples’ much loved relatives and friends were buried there, she only saw the as useless pieces of land. They were bought for very little and never used except as a tipping ground for trash. She only said ‘it has nothing to do with me. I don’t own them any more’
This unpopular decision appealed to many labour voters who did very well at eight vital boroughs. She had to get them back to keep Westminster a safe Tory seat. It was simple, just deport all the council dwellers and sell off their homes to more suitable (Tory voting) people.
The poor were sent to high rise tower blocks in other parts of London. At this point in the play I started to cry – and I think so many others did in the audience. The tower blocks were supposedly tested for safety, and approved. The doctor who was responsible for the tests shot himself from his guilt afterward.
The sadness is, after her trial for gerrymandering she still went on winning. She was fined around forty million, the amount she was owing the tax payers. Unfortunately she had been clever enough to have all her money placed in foreign bank accounts – all the damning paperwork had been shredded. In the search, they found only twelve million so that was the total amount of her fine. She then retired to Palm Springs where she is now living in luxurious exile. Leaving in her wake the few people who had remained with her on the Westminster council . She had had enough power to use simple blackmail to keep them in place. ‘I have done nothing wrong’ she still says.
All the actors use their heads and hearts well. Omar Broud, James Horne, George Potts play many roles, councillors and Auditors, as does Amanda Waggott who appears a Tory ‘wet’ who gives in her notice at an early stage and returns in masculine guise as the guilty Doctor.. The Leader’s Deputy = as evil and cruel as she was, with a real and violent hatred of the poor.is played by Jack Klaff
Jessica Martin as Shirley is an impeccable actress who never for one moment allows the audience to love her. She is a total psychopathic villain and she even looks like Shirley with fancy shoes, wig, earrings, expensive and flashy clothes. I especially appreciate the horrid pink frilly negligee hiding all that viciousness.
The play is immaculately directed by the lovely caring Anthony Biggs on a curious set by Gregory Donnelly of many colours and on many different levels and wonderfully lit by Sherry Coenen.
I do not apologise for telling so much of the story. It needs to be told over and over again in the hope that it will stop happening around the world.. Thank goodness this story is out in the open.

My most telling line came from Jack Klaff. When told that the asbestos homes would be safe so long as nobody drilled holes in the walls to put pictures up or bookshelves. He laughed and said ‘Those kind of people would hardly do DIY’ so the safety was passed.

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