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09 March 2000: Daily Mail

Election Winner For Dame Diana's Girl

Dame Diana Rigg slipped quietly into the fashionable Donmar last night to see her daughter, Rachael Stirling, make a most promising stage debut in a new play that swivels on General Election Night, 1997.

Rachael is tall and lissom with a marked facial resemblance to mum and a voice of similar depth and creaminess.

She plays Frankie, a disenchanted health food shop assistant who begins an affair with her father's best friend.

Will (Ron Cook), her dad, is a fifty-ish actor best known as the worried man of a television insurance advertisement. He is also worried about his low sperm count, a metaphor of political impotence.

Best friend Hugh (Art Malik) is a contemporary veteran of student protests in the late 1960s who has doubled his money as a historian by writing bestsellers under the name of Alice Wilde.

Frankie's mother (Charlotte Cornwell) does good work in Africa. But Frankie cannot understand their obsession with the past. Was it all like Citizen Smith on UK Gold, she asks?

Robin Lefevre's meticulously organised production is a post- political sitcom, with sharp and funny writing and nostalgic blasts of pop music.

Will belatedly turns on the television on election night just in time for the result in Michael Portillo's seat in Enfield South.

Two years later, he litanises his complaints about New Labour (arms dealing, Kosovo, tuition fees) and Hugh, decorated with the OBE, is selling up property in the Third World and marrying Frankie.

Will's thirty-odd Scottish girlfriend, Kate (Julie Graham) whom he meets in the opening, very funny, scene in Soho is pregnant by another man.

Is the younger generation less ridiculous than we were, the once revolutionary Dusty Hughes asks, or is it just less educated and more self-centred?

A sparky, entertaining little evening.


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