Quentin Letts

London theatre needs Kevin Spacey

[Getty Images]

Lee Anderson, deputy chairman of the Conservative party, popped a few monocles by saying asylum seekers reluctant to stay on a Home Office barge could ‘fuck off back to France’. Wash your very mouth out! Where did Anderson think he was performing? At the Royal Court theatre? The Guardian, which long teased Mary Whitehouse for being a prude, clutched its pearls at the ‘nasty’ remark. Westminster journalists, few of whom can complete a sentence without an F-word, wrote about Anderson’s ‘shock’ remark. Radio 4’s Nick Robinson (so one gathers, not having been a Radio 4 listener for seven years) was so aghast that he had to be given camomile tea and a cold compress to the brow. Now that Huw Edwards has been excommunicated, can it be long before Nick is asked to front Songs of Praise? Then Suella Braverman’s wheeze was torpedoed by the discovery of nasties in the barge’s water supply. Not safe. One of the wonders of recent years has been that crack British bureaucrats did not quickly stop the small boats on health and safety grounds. The first thing Border Force recruits should be taught, surely, is the Albanian for: ‘Unless you conducted a risk assessment for this journey I cannot authorise your arrival at Dover. You will have to return to France, sir/madam, and complete the correct form.’ That would destroy the traffickers’ business model faster than Lee Anderson could say effez-vouz en

After roughly 4,000 reviews I am retiring as a theatre critic. Exit stage right. Curtains. No whoops, please. Whooping has become a blight on theatre-going. At Miss Saigon in Sheffield last month two teenage girls near me whooped after almost every song. At half-time they hooted through cupped hands.

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