"Great Britain" tells the story of fictional media mogul Paschal O'Leary and a female editor, suggestively named Paige Britain, who works at one of his publications, the Free Press, and is unburdened by journalistic scruples.
In the play, Britain -- the character and perhaps the country too -- becomes embroiled in an ethical quagmire involving Free Press journalists, while other public maelstroms, including one involving members of Parliament, compete for the nation's attention.
The National Theatre had managed to keep "Great Britain" a secret from the media until its announcement in late June. Under the direction of
Michael Billington of the Guardian described the new drama as "blessedly funny." The playwright reminds us of "the sins of the powerful. ... I mean it as a compliment when I say his play has a tabloid energy and bravura."
The Evening Standard's Henry Hitchings wrote that the play's "cartoonish elements are richly enjoyable, laced with political incorrectness, yet they're interleaved with some altogether more subtle jokes. Even if the show feels a little too broad and could do with a trim, it's barbed, dense and very funny."