Whipping It Up

by Steve Thompson

Whipping It Up had 4 performances about 9 years ago (between the 24th of March 2010 and the 27th of March 2010) at The Riverhouse Barn

A sharp, slick, cynical comedy, recently released for amateurs, based around how the Whips operate in Westminster. Scandalously funny it has the same kind of feel as the TV series ‘Yes Minister’. Sharply satirical and packed with sparkling witty dialogue, the play offers razor-sharp character opportunities for 4 men and 2 women. Westminster may run the country but the Whips run Westminster.

It is almost Christmas 2010 and the new Conservative government have a tiny majority of 3 - which requires an even tighter control of the M.Ps by the Whips. The passage of a seemingly innocuous bill designed to curb the rights of gypsies strangely arouses a small rebellion in the Conservative ranks; but as events unfold the situation mushrooms into the possibility of a leadership challenge and panic ensues. The Whips move swiftly into gear playing a cat and mouse game with their opposite numbers in the Labour camp, threatening and charming their own troops and preying unscrupulously on the immoral instincts of the press.

Boy Scouts are rioting in Whitehall, the Prime minister is golfing with the President, five Tory rebels are on the loose and the Chief Whip is playing Santa.

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Fulton - Marc Anderson

Chief Whip - (65 ish) The leader of the razor tongued political bully boys (originally played by Richard Wilson). His sober brigadier type exterior contrasts starkly with his pithy foul comments. Expletives and bile pour from the terrier like Fulton in an almost never ending cynical tide. An old-fashioned party grandee, Fulton is a man for whom loyalty is everything yet even he is ultimately sacrificed on the political pyre.

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Alastair - Mark Humble

Deputy Chief Whip - (45 ish ) Slick and smoothly persuasive he is a slippery viper one wouldn’t trust with a hamster let alone the mother of Parliament. Public school educated, suave, debonair, sophisticated and attractive with a charming immaculate celebrity image. Trained at Sandhurst he is willing to lay down his life for his party.

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Tim - Nick Lund

Junior Whip - (34 ish) A bumptious careerist he is an attractive young man in a razor sharp suit with a strong London accent and a streetwise, confidant swagger. His father has an ample enough bank account to grease his son’s political path. Tim is just as able and willing to do the dirty work as his public school superiors. But there’s a glimpse of an uneasy alliance with the old guard upper classes and the newly rich from the suburbs.

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Guy - Jon Hewines

Back bench M.P. - (36 ish) A fizzy mix of eagerness and nerves in a pinstripe suit. A new M.P. who is learning the ropes the hard way. He is finding it hard to make his mark in parliament as a closet gay M.P.

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Maggie - Clare Salter

Researcher - (27 ish) An ambitious, devious investigative journalist from the Observer newspaper. Her ambitions to become an M.P. have been thwarted and she uses her obvious sex appeal to help her advance her ambitions. A sexy young woman in a formal skirt, which is rather too short to be accidental, and a see-through blouse. A researcher in the house she is always on the look out to blow the lid off the Despatch Box and reveal the true secrets locked in the Whips safe.

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Delia - Frankie Godliman

Deputy Opposition Chief Whip - (45 ish) She oozes the necessary gravitas and competitiveness to rival her opposite number. Provides a witty, wily, erotic Labour antagonist for the macho Conservatives. She is not only a sharp political manoeuverer but is very sexy. Very artful, Delia gains pleasure from beating the boys at their own game. There is a hint of loneliness and looking for more to life, and a certain frisson with Alastair.

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Director - Judith Dolley

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Stage Manager - Liz Thomas

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Lighting - Bill Payne

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Sound - Ian Santry

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Set Design and Construction - John Godliman