The Majority, theatre review: One-man show turns democracy into a gameshow

Henry Hitchings
Canvassing opinions: Rob Drummond: Ellie Kurttz

Rob Drummond’s one-man show began life as a response to his own inertia during 2014’s referendum on Scottish independence. In its bleary aftermath he met Eric, a fervently left-wing beekeeper convinced that his coastal community had become infested with fascists. His interest in Eric’s strange theories has yielded this exploration of democracy and tolerance.

On arrival each member of the audience is handed a keypad — used over the next 90 minutes to vote on a succession of yes-or-no questions.

Some are intentionally banal (‘Should latecomers be admitted?) and others confront ethical issues. Would you push a person off a bridge to save five railway workers from being crushed by a runaway train? Is abusing people for their opinions ever helpful?

Drummond is an engaging performer, and David Overend’s production amusingly parodies the trappings of a glitzy gameshow. Yet this is a meandering piece, a shaggy-dog story that’s politely thought-provoking but doesn’t probe the inconsistencies it reveals.

Though it makes the pertinent point that a slim electoral majority can be enough to propel massive change, its arguments for wider political participation and nuanced debate lack bite.

Until Aug 28, National Theatre;