[David] Hare’s Ayn Rand Takes a Stand is the best item of the evening in that it uses barbed comedy to expose the paradoxes in current Conservative thinking. Ayn Rand was a novelist whose passionate advocacy of laissez-faire capitalism is popular in US rightwing circles and has allegedly inspired our own business secretary, Sajid Javid. But Hare imagines Rand – magnificently played by Ann Mitchell as a throaty, entrepreneurial Mae West – projected into the present to confront George Osborne (here identified by his middle name of Gideon) and Theresa May.
Rand finds in Osborne a willing sex slave, who accepts her belief in the unimpeded play of the market. But the richest moment comes when Rand confronts May with an unanswerable conundrum: “How can you have a free market without free movement of labour?”
This is genuine satire, in that it uses ridicule to nail the contradictions of a capitalist philosophy that erects barriers against immigration.