This terrific made-for-cable adaptation of Gelbart's "Play On Words" is probably more suited to TV than it is for theater. Presented as TV coverage of a Congressional hearing, Mastergate describes an elaborate parody of Iran-Contra, in which illegal arms shipments are made using a big budget Hollywood action film as cover. (The film's "budget" eventually exceeds a billion dollars--"1.3 billion with catering.") The real joy of the play, though is Gelbart's brilliant use of language--the politicians on both sides of the gavel speak as much as they can while saying as little as possible. There's enough doublespeak to put George Orwell to shame, all delivered by a top-notch cast. Mastergate stands with The Candidate and Wag The Dog among the best political satires.
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