THEATRE | Yes, Prime Minister

Mellow Drama will be the first theatre company outside of the UK to stage Yes, Prime Minister – a popular theatrical version of the BBC comedy. We speak to the director and two of the actors forming part of this ensemble production, staged at the Manoel Theatre.

Clockwise from left: Jo Caruana, John Montanaro, Steve Casaletto, Colin Fitz, Alan Montanaro.
Clockwise from left: Jo Caruana, John Montanaro, Steve Casaletto, Colin Fitz, Alan Montanaro.

  How do you feel about taking on such an iconic series?

James Calvert (director): It was obviously quite a daunting project. We knew before we started that we had a tricky task on our hands. People will be coming to the theatre with a picture in mind and it was never going to be easy living up to those expectations. But what's nice about this particular play is that it is not just a rehash of a couple of old episodes but a completely fresh script written specifically for the stage. And that gave us enough freedom to put our own spin on things. The old characters are there but they have been superimposed on a modern-day scenario, a combination that works delightfully well.

Do you think Yes, Prime Minister - so quintessentially British -will work with a Maltese audience?

Steve Casaletto (actor): Absolutely, politics is politics! Comedy is comedy! The whole political situation in Malta at the moment has really brought this to the fore, plus I don't think anyone will be concentrating on whether this is UK or Malta. The situations and the ideas and indeed the entire script are I believe truly universal. Anyway we Maltese are far more political than the British are, I am positive that the Maltese will love it.

What was the most challenging aspect of the script to bring to life?

John Montanaro (actor): The biggest challenge is to live up the expectations that the audience will have, and from what I am seeing in rehearsals I have no doubt that we will exceed them.

Do you think politics is funny by itself? Given the current local context, how can we expect a fictional play to match - or beat - reality, in terms of farce?

Steve Casaletto: I do think politics can be funny at times, but presumably from a distance, I don't think anyone actually involved in any way would think that. I definitely think that our fictional play will beat real life hands down, because in the play we get to see all the internal workings and internal "politics" which must happen on a day-by-day basis, which we never get to see. What goes on inside those government buildings is much more interesting than what we get to see.

The play will run through February 17-19. Tickets are at €12 and €20. Bookings: 21 246389, All shows start at 20:00. The play is rated 16.