Lloyd Evans

Lloyd Evans

Lloyd Evans is The Spectator's sketch-writer and theatre critic

The reality of food banks

The old man next door asked me to collect his parcel from the food bank. ‘Sure,’ I said. I joined a queue of 20 starvelings outside a chapel in the East End. Most were migrants carrying rucksacks or bags for life, and there were a few Cockney mums with fidgety nippers in tow. Everyone in

Keir Starmer’s shameful behaviour at PMQs

‘Apologise!’ This was the bogus battle-cry that rang out repeatedly at today’s PMQs. Rishi Sunak was asked to genuflect to his enemies and show contrition for fictional sins. The trouble began when Sir Keir Starmer told us that the mother of Brianna Ghey, a transgender girl killed in February, was present in the public gallery.

Casting an able-bodied actor as Richard III isn’t ‘offensive’

The row over Richard III rumbles on. Disability groups have objected to the Globe’s forthcoming production in which Michelle Terry will take the lead. The able-bodied Terry, who happens to be the Globe’s artistic director, has apologised ‘for the pain or harm that has been caused by the decision for me to play Richard III.’

The unexpected star of PMQs is a man you’ve never heard of

Let’s hear it for Phil. The unexpected hero of PMQs was an Iceland employee in Warrington (referred to as ‘Phil’, no surname given) whom Sir Keir Starmer held up as a victim of Tory fiscal mismanagement. Doubtless poor Phil had no idea his personal circumstances were about to dominate today’s parliamentary punch-up.  The session began

Has Rishi Sunak already given up?

Sir Keir’s spin doctors have been enjoying clips of Tony Blair’s performances as opposition leader. In the mid-1990s, Blair took aim at John Major with this, ‘I lead my party, he follows his.’ At today’s PMQs, Sir Keir tried the same judo-throw on Rishi Sunak. ‘I’ve changed my party. He’s bullied by his,’ he said.

How to write the perfect aphorism

I love aphorisms. As a kid I used to pore over my parents’ book of quotations, relishing its gems and treasures like the defiant wit of Palmerston. ‘Die my dear doctor? That’s the last thing I shall do.’ ‘Sweater: garment worn by a child when its mother is feeling chilly’ The beauty of these sayings

Lloyd Evans

A beginner’s guide to getting a massage

 The agony could strike at any moment. Daggering pains in my lower back demanded correction. Not just painkillers, I needed a permanent cure. ‘Thai massage’ suggested the internet, so I hobbled across a tangle of east London streets and found a doorway beneath a pink neon sign. A receptionist of south Asian appearance, bundled in

Rishi Sunak’s nightmare PMQs

Wow. For Rishi fans, that was one to forget. The Tory leader lacked his usual fluency and focus at PMQs today. Instead of a hungry whippet leaping out of the traps, we watched a fretful hare being chased around the circuit. If mockery won votes, this was a landslide Rishi’s sub-par effort coincided with a

Donmar Warehouse declares war on Shakespeare

Many of today’s theatre directors seem to believe that Shakespeare’s work was a huge mistake which they have a duty to correct. According to Max Webster, the director of Macbeth at the Donmar, Shakespeare’s error was to write scripts for the stage which would work better as radio plays. His amended version is set in

Rishi Sunak has nothing to lose anymore

Both leaders seemed pretty chipper at PMQs. With an election likely this year, Rishi Sunak has nothing to lose and Sir Keir Starmer has everything to gain. He opened with a dig at Sunak’s plan to ‘stop the boats’ which, he alleged, the PM had never truly believed in. Sir Keir lamented that ‘the Rwanda

Do we really need this unsubtle and irrelevant play about Covid?

Pandemonium is a new satire about the Covid nightmare that uses the quaint style of the Elizabethan masque. Armando Iannucci’s play opens with Paul Chahidi as Shakespeare introducing a troupe of players who all speak in rhyming couplets. A golden wig descends like a signal from on high and Shakespeare transforms himself into the ‘World

Why are theatres so cowardly?

Looking back at the year’s West End theatre, a few shows stand out. First, the best. Vanya, starring Andrew Scott at the Duke of York’s Theatre, was an audacious and frankly barmy attempt to reimagine Chekhov’s sprawling family melodrama, Uncle Vanya, as a monologue. The risk was that it might come across as a lengthy

Thank God for Christmas, and a break from PMQs

Christmas at PMQs began with a call for the government to scrap its in-house astrology team.  Greg Smith, a Tory backbencher, said he was fed up with the Office of Budget Responsibility whose latest forecast ‘was £30 billion out.’ Smith wants ‘lower taxes’ and he suggested that ‘we need a better system of financial modelling.’

Sir Keir’s style is too legal to land a blow on Sunak

The Rwanda treaty has established two new norms in politics. First, the Supreme Court acts as a revising chamber with the power to change government legislation. Secondly, Labour is terrified of Rwanda.  At PMQs, Sir Keir thought he was on a winning ticket and all he had to do was mock the relocation scheme and

Lloyd Evans

The new status symbol of the super rich: headlice

To help out friends, I sometimes collect a boy from his primary school near Sloane Square. This part of London boasts the most expensive homes in Britain and the local families are served by a crop of ultra-pricey schools. The best known, Hill House, was founded in the 1940s by an eccentric army officer, ‘the