David Cameron isn’t a chap to let a global crisis such as the one in Ukraine get in the way of an evening at the theatre. My eagle-eyed snouts and radar-lugged informants were out in the audience when the Bullingdon boy tipped up with his wife, Samantha, in Stratford-upon-Avon to watch Wolf Hall. Electorally the least successful Tory premier in history, he may be seeking inspiration from Henry VIII’s henchman Thomas Cromwell. And with whom did the Downing Street couple dine in the rooftop restaurant? The City PR Sir Alan Parker, a chum Dave knighted a few months ago, and Parker’s missus, Jane Hardman, a political lobbyist.
The foursome rubbed along famously. Dave’s bodyguards requested a coat stand be shifted so they could keep an eye on their employer from a discreet distance. The revelry was interrupted by a flunkey appearing at the table with a phone for the PM to take an important call. I trust Sir Alan, part of Dave’s recent posse to China, instantly forgot everything he overheard.
Tittering rippled around the auditorium as Cameron and party were ushered into front-row seats moments before the curtain went up at the Swan Theatre. Sir Alan’s brother Nathaniel “Inspector Lynley” Parker was a fine Henry but the star of the show was Ben Miles as Thomas Cromwell. Dave, a snout whispered disapprovingly, was distracted by texts and emails on his own mobile. The PM placed the device on a programme so it appeared as if he was reading the play notes or profiles of the actors. Smart move. Luckily, the phone was on silent.
Cameron’s security team needed to push its way through the crowded bar to deliver their charge to a private room for interval drinkies. One woman almost spilled a cup of water over him in the melee. Others muttered: “Is it really him?” Yes, it was. A disabled woman tried to gain entry to the room but was turned away, told it was a private party. The queue for the ladies’ was long. Sam Cam and Jane Hardman disappeared into the one disabled loo.
In the second half, the magnificent Miles intentionally aimed Cromwell’s line that “Government should always listen to the voice of the people” at Dave in the front row. It brought the house down. The usually disciplined RSC audience erupted, cheering and applauding. Theatregoers, otherwise known as voters, pointed and laughed at Cameron. The PM just smiled, as did Nathaniel Parker’s Henry VIII.
In the interests of fairness, I feel compelled to record that a fair number in the audience later wanted to shake the PM’s hand. Incidentally, it looks as if Dave’s back on the hair dye.
Kevin Maguire is the associate editor (politics) of the Daily Mirror