It’s almost four years since H and I drove the 209 miles down to London to catch Ben Miller star in The Duck House; a comedy set in the political turmoil of the expenses crisis.
I’d bought the tickets as an anniversary present, choosing the very last showing on Saturday 29 March 2014 – if you’re going to a comedy play, you do the last night. Always. Because the script gets thrown out the window and everything that can go wrong tends to and it’s the best thing ever.
Not going to lie, my driving need to see The Duck House was Ben playing the leading role. I’ve been a huge fan of his since The Armstrong and Miller Show was on Channel 4. Plus, he was fresh from his stint as Richard Poole in Death In Paradise, which both H and I love to bits.
In The Duck House, he plays Robert Houston, an MP who changes political affiliation like a pair of underpants in an attempt to land a plum job in the cabinet. (If you’re curious about this character, if you’ve seen him as James Lester in Primeval, it’s basically that but with more laughs and less dinosaurs.)
He’s supposed to be having dinner with a Tory higher-upper in order to Make An Impression, but the expenses scandal is on the front of every paper and Houston has a list a mile long of stuff he really shouldn’t have claimed for. In short, he ends up making entirely the wrong impression, hilariously.
The play was hysterically funny even before lines were forgotten and ad libs made. That just made everything that little bit better! Ben has impeccable comic timing and a wide naughty streak, and he ruled the stage like a king.
And being the last night and them not needing the props any more, a fair few got tossed into the audience, which when you’re talking about hanging baskets is a little risky, even if they were unplanted!
One of them hangs beside my front door.
My biggest regret is not finding out before the fact where the stage door was. After the four hour drive and a two hour performance, I was too knackered to start hunting, even if that did mean not getting Ben’s autograph and a selfie. Still, it was a great night that I remember fondly. And if Ben ever does a stage play again, I’ll have tickets before the ink’s finished drying!
Note: going to London at the weekend is the best time, especially if you get up early on Sunday morning. The streets are dead, meaning you can wander (or drive) around at your leisure and take in all the touristy sights.
Photos courtesy of The Telegraph and The Spectator.