INSPIRED by real events during the UK’s politically turbulent 1970s and former Labour MP Joe Ashton’s play Majority of One, This House is based on extensive research and interviews to imagine the inner workings of Westminster’s political engine room, focusing on the government and oppositional Whip’s offices.

There are obvious parallels between the so-called “Winter of Discontent” with the 2008 banking crises, David Cameron’s coalition government and today’s fractured post-EU Referendum government.

Pre-dating Thatcher to span from the 1974 General Election to 1979 when after five years of battling to keep power, Labour finally lost, This House is more enlightening as to the daily routines of politicians than the scandals reported in the papers.

Behind-the-scenes peculiars specific to the House of Commons, such as the ceremonial mace, the Serjeant at Arms and the pairing process, educationally highlight the eccentricities of Westminster life.

Nick Clegg has aptly described Westminster politics as “Savage and tender. Cruel and mawkish. Tragic and comic,” perfectly highlighted by the working relationships of the party members in Graham’s script.

The toll of trying to fend off Labour’s no confidence vote is clearly evident as 17, once guffawing, MPs die during their five-year reign.

From fisticuffs to the infamous staged death of MP John Stonehouse in 1974 and underhand operations, Graham’s play leans towards the preposterous but never loses its humanity. The parties’ reliance on backbenchers is poignantly highlighted by the moving death of the long-serving and ailing MP for Batley and Morley, Sir Alfred Broughton.

Rae Smith’s design includes a multi-levelled stage with a band performing in front of Big Ben’s iconic clock face above a wood panelled room.

The contrasting offices of each side of the stage highlight the traditional class standing of each party with the Labour politicians wowed by new adjustable chairs and portrayed as heroic underdogs, singing “I vow to thee my country”.

Directors Jeremy Herrin and Jonathan O’Boyle use news sound bites, such as strike reportage as a reminder of the impact of decisions made in Westminster beyond its walls.

The faults of Big Ben and physical degeneration of Westminster’s offices mirror the fragility of the political system, yet its ability to soldier on unscathed 40 years later.

Highbrow entertainment for the politically-minded, This House boasts a large cast and is informative, if not a little drawn-out. Although humorous at times, attracted Thick of It fans shouldn’t expect big laughs.

One of its characters summarises the British political system as “archaic, old-fashioned… but somehow [working]”, leaving audiences to ponder whether reforms are perhaps due.

This House shows in The Quarry Theatre until Saturday: