Hot on the heels of the lovely Limehouse, The Donmar Warehouse launches straight in with another politically charged offering. Committee is a brand new musical (mostly verbatim) based on transcripts of the parliamentary select committee enquiry into the failure of The Kids Company Charity, with specific attention paid to the cross examination of charity lynchpin Camilla Batmanghelidjh and her board member and BBC exec Alan Yentob.
Committee does remarkably well not to take a moral position highlighting both staggering financial mismanagement and a culture that saw vulnerable children handed weekly amounts of cash in brown envelopes (in some cases totally tens of thousands of pounds annually) and at the same time showing the compassionate place that these practices came from. What was perhaps most worrying was the culture of access that existed between Batmanghelidjh, Yentob and the upper echelons of government including to Prime Minister David Cameron.
Sandra Marvin is a thoroughly convincing and imposing Batmanghelidjh whose access and political clout seems to make perfect sense, and Omar Ebrahim’s Yentob an excellent bumbly foil to Batmanghelidjh’s more machiavalian puppetmaster. Rosemary Ashe’s Kate Hoey MP is superb, but in truth this play is mostly about the two in the dock and all the committee members inevitably take a bit of a back seat.
I’ve been looking forward to this for months – and although I enjoyed it, I think I came away feeling slightly underwhelmed. The narrative lacks some dramatic oooooompf and as so often in plays following life… I wanted more climax.