Despite some considerable talent involved, I vote to leave Brexit: The Uncivil War
“It says here you basically ran the Leave campaign and yet I doubt most people have ever heard of you”
It is difficult to watch Brexit: The Uncivil War because it is hard to locate a raison d’être for telling this story as a drama rather than a documentary. Given how close it is to the present day and the way in which so much has still yet to unfold in the way the UK eventually disentangles from the EU, making the choice to start creating art around it feels an odd choice.
I’ve long been a fan of James Graham, like any rational person, and the way he has been able to dig deep and really explore so many of the issues afflicting contemporary society has been brilliantly in evidence. But it is hard not to feel that Brexit is a mis-step in the way that it seeks to reinterpret the roles of the key dramatis personae in this whole sorry shebang.
Making Arron Banks and Nigel Farage sideshow clowns, abdicating Michael Gove and Boris Johnson of the depths of their responsibilities, elevating Dominic Cummings to a near-mythological totemic figure, this is a distinctively skewed portrait – one which Graham is more than entitled to create – but that doesn’t mean he doesn’t have his own questions to answer.
A great ensemble has been assembled in Toby Haynes’ production – John Heffernan, Kate O’Flynn, Kyle Soller, Liz White to name but a few. And Benedict Cumberbatch delivers a customarily intense performance as Cummings, but this feel an entirely misguided enterprise.