Yes, Prime Minister: Taking the mickey out the Government

UPROARIOUS: Raoul Neave as Sir Humphrey Appleby and Ian Lester as Prime Minster Jim Hacker in the Canterbury Repertory Theatre's production of Yes, Prime Minister.

With the New Zealand elections on the horizon, the city’s longest-running theatre will stage a play ‘taking the Mickey’ out of the way governments are run.

The Canterbury Repertory Theatre will stage Yes, Prime Minister based on the late 80s satirical British sitcom with Ian Lester, 64, playing the lead role of Prime Minister Jim Hacker.

“It is relevant, the humour in it still happens. Nothing changes in government, it is just so funny,” Lester said.

Non-political himself, Lester said while the show is based on an English system, it takes the Mickey out of all the governments including New Zealand.

“This show just shows how silly the government is really . . . the real tough decisions are made in the evenings over a glass of whiskey with a fight in your office,” Lester said.

British himself, Lester moved to the city from London in 1977 as a printer wanting to see the world.

“I came here on a two-year contract, I met a lovely girl and there you go that is what happens,” he said.

Lester studied at the London College of Printing and worked as a printer from 1969 to 1985.

He said he would not be able to recognise the technology used in printing today and he sadly watched on television here the riots in London which were the result of the Wapping dispute.

It was a failed strike by print workers in London after production was shifted to a new plant with modern computer facilities in January 1986.

Lester said while the London College of Printing is still running, the institute which was once the size of Canterbury University could now be run out of a few three-bedroom houses.

He is now self-employed, working from his home in Kaiapoi as a funeral celebrant.

Lester first discovered his performing talents playing in a brass band for one of the coal mines in Wales.

He said while he initially joined the band at the age of 14 to chase after girls, he soon found he enjoyed playing music and his love for the stage flowed on from there.

Since moving to the city he has worked with companies including Elmwood Players, Top Dog Theatre and Showbiz Christchurch.

His next plans are to audition for Showbiz Christchurch’s production of Sister Act.

•Yes, Prime Minister will run at the Elmwood Auditorium until May 20. To book tickets go to www.repertory.nz/show/yes-prime-minister/

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