So to the National Theatre to see "Democracy". Following the excellent "Copenhagen", Michael Frayn has tackled another apparently unpromising subject, this time West German politics in the 1970s. The play centres on the relationship between the charismatic Willy Brandt and his ‘greasy’ personal assistant Günter Guillaume.
Guillaume’s greatest asset was his unnerving ability to blend into the background, a very useful gift given he spied for the Stasi. Meanwhile an array of literally large characters danced and ploted seizing upon Guillaume’s eventual exposure to replace Brandt with Schmidt.
There are many topical resonances, not least in the loss of a trusted confidant followed by infuriating intransigence and disintegration in his second elected term.
Though apparently unpromising, this period is fascinating when you consider how each player was coloured by a war story, building a prosperous nation under the shadow of the Berlin Wall. It was Brandt’s work that led on to the fall of the Wall and eventually the Soviet Union itself.