This is a tricky one. I know and like Marks and Gran and I having attended some of their comedy writing classes, I have a lot of respect for their skills. Their new play, an update of the Thatcher-era TV comedy starrring Rik Mayall, has followed a provincial tour earlier this year by opening at the Trafalgar Studios. The script has been rewritten to stand up if Blair says goodbye to Downing Street. The play will go off on tour again in 2007, probably playing to packed houses throughout. Mayall is slightly more rounded and middle-aged (aren't we all?) than when he played the role of Alan B'stard on TV but he still summons up the same manic energy. Subtle? Not exactly. Rik doesn't do subtlety. He mugs, gesticulates, rolls around and adlibs. Occasionally he corpses. In fact he goes marvellously over the top at every opportunity. He's a force of nature, to be compared only with Ken Dodd or the late Tommy Cooper. I hate to say this, but the writing is pretty feeble. It isn't farce in the grand tradition of the Whitehall theatre because there's no real plotting. Nor is there much character. Perhaps I'm being too po-faced, but the only level this works on is that of pantomime, with Mayall as the villain Abanazer. He's the reason people will buy tickets, not the writing, which has a few good jokes and many more weak ones. Anyone expecting sharp political satire in the vein of Alastair Beaton's Feelgood will be disappointed.