Letizia Maculan for In Denial

The world of today is a world of few certainties, but there are two things that can still be said with absolute confidence. The first is that I will never not be falling behind in lectures. (I have made peace with this fact, primarily by ignoring it.) The second is that governments will never not need satirising. This latter point was true in the summer of 2020, when inspiration first compelled me to undertake the arduous voyage from bed to desk to write this play. I think it still remains true today, for better or worse (but probably for worse), when the play is about to undertake the arguably more arduous voyage from internet to eardrums. So what are we going to do about it?

“In Denial is a bit of a satire about a bit of a Government desperately trying to cling to its last bit of credibility.”

In Denial is a bit of a satire about a bit of a Government desperately trying to cling to its last bit of credibility. It pays homage to some of the best British political comedies of recent memory, from Iannucci’s The Thick of It to Bojo’s Prime Minister’s Questions. It is set in the near-future, a post-pandemic UK (because back in summer 2020, I could say things like ‘near-future’ and ‘post-pandemic’ in the same breath). An ominous-looking inquiry report into the governmental handling of COVID-19 looms on the grey bureaucratic horizon, and the Government launches a new Department for Climate Change Action as a last-ditch distraction. It works for a few hours until the freshly-appointed Minister for Climate Change accidentally denies the existence of climate change on his official Twitter account. And so chaos ensues, as chaos does.

I still remember putting the first words on the page for this show. I also remember deleting those words, rewriting them multiple times and eventually deciding to “come back to that bit at the end” – but that’s beside the point. I said that I was ‘compelled’ to write the thing, and I really do mean ‘compelled’. Life was bleak back then, for everyone, and not much has changed. So, naturally, my instinctive response – and I firmly believe there’s a part of all of us like this – was to find something to laugh about. With uncharacteristic speed, contemporary politics answered the call.

Cian Morey is the writer behind In Denial (not to mention this article). Designed by Letizia Maculan for In Denial

In a world that seems to be filling up with flat-out aggression, I feel that some light-hearted satire can go a long way. I’ve always thought that the only thing better than making a statement is making a statement humorously. There are things that need talking and thinking about for sure – global warming, misinformation, healthcare, the personal pressures of power, the needlessly-complicated names of Government departments – and if some part of In Denial puts a furrow in your brow and a question on your lips about what exactly goes down behind the doors of Whitehall, then we’re getting places. Not sure where, but we’re definitely getting somewhere.

“We must laugh through lucklessness, chortle through challenge and, when possible, alliterate through adversity.”

I think however that there’s also a need to get away from all that for a bit – to seek out the comedy in the good and the bad, to laugh not because of, but in spite of, hard times. We must laugh through lucklessness, chortle through challenge and, when possible, alliterate through adversity. I mean, we’re all just figuring it out as we go along, aren’t we? And it might just be that the professionals in suits in faraway offices are all bluffing their way through it as well. We are all, much like the Jonas Brothers, Only Human.


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But you wouldn’t think it from the superhuman talents of the cast and crew of In Denial. Any play depends on so much more than the words on the page and the copious cups of tea in the writer’s hand, and a radio play brings its own bespoke challenges just as it brings its own artistic possibilities. To say that everyone involved met these challenges with aplomb – with multiple plombs, in fact – would be an understatement. Impeccably directed by Ines de Larrinaga, admirably assisted by Jacqui Drewe, produced with gusto by Cat Salvini and brought from script to sound-file by an incredible cast, editing team and publicity designer, In Denial has been uproariously good fun to make – and it currently looks like it’ll be just as much fun to listen to.

Go on, have a listen. You know you want to. You really just can’t deny it.

Exciting note from my producer: You can catch In Denial on Wednesday, 10th March at 2000 on ADCOnline -https://www.adctheatre.com/whats-on/comedy/in-denial/ , and on Sunday, 14th March at 2100 on CamFM - https://camfm.co.uk/shows/adc-online-in-denial/.