THE LAST TEMPTATION OF BORIS JOHNSON
CAST & CREATIVE TEAM
WRITER Jonathan Maitland
Maitland has written five books including How to Make your Million from the Internet (and what to do if you don't), which explored the dot com boom. How to Survive your Mother described his unconventional childhood in suburban Surrey. Aged three he was sent to boarding school and at 13 his mother turned the family hotel in Ewell into a retreat for homosexuals. The rights were bought by ITV but no film was made. In 2021 the rights were bought by Captain Dolly, a TV and film production company founded by the actresses Ronni Ancona and Sally Phillips.
His play Dead Sheep, about the Geoffrey Howe speech which led to Margaret Thatcher's downfall, was staged at Park Theatre in London in 2015. It received positive reviews and the Independent called it a "...fine, often very funny debut play." It became the most successful production in the theatre's history and went on a national tour in 2016. His follow up at the Park, An Audience With Jimmy Savile, broke the previous records set by Dead Sheep. The Daily Mail's theatre critic Quentin Letts called it: "a striking, memorable, urgent piece of work ...a powerful ‘ j'accuse'”. The Observer described the play’s central performance by Alistair McGowan as “Uncanny…creepily powerful…shocking.” His third play, "Deny Deny Deny", about medical and ethical dilemmas, was also staged at the Park. The Telegraph called it "a gripping, Faustian take on Olympic doping."
In May 2019 his play The Last Temptation of Boris Johnson opened at the Park Theatre. Its two acts looked at how Boris Johnson missed out on the Conservative Party leadership to Theresa May in July 2016 stemming from a February dinner party at his home in Islington with Michael Gove. The second act looks to a future 2029 when he is tempted to make another run at the leadership taking the UK back into the EU. The play broke previous box office records and sold out its entire run but received mixed reviews; Ann Treneman in The Times gave the play four stars out of five, calling it 'politics...served deliciously pink'. In the New European, Martin McQuillan praised Maitland's 'remarkable play' with a five-star review, but Michael Billington in the Guardian gave it two stars, concluding that “ Maitland’s mind-changing hero is not nearly as interesting as he thinks he is.”The play completed an eight week national tour in March 2020.
Supported by Sky Arts, as part of their Art50, a scheme commisioned to explore the notion of British identity in the wake of Brexit.