In line with its broadly leftist philosophy, the New Theatre at Newtown presents UK playwright James Graham’s examination of a series of bombings in London in 1969-70 by Britain’s first home-grown terrorists – four young people who called themselves “The Angry Brigade.”
The play is divided into two parts. The first half looks at the investigations of the police officers who were trying to develop new techniques appropriate for the new crimes being perpetrated on the streets, while the second takes place in the shared digs of the youthful bombers.
Like an old episode of The Bill, the deliberations of the police officers as they mull over the details of the bombings seem somewhat dated in the face of modern television police procedurals.
However, Graham’s flight of fancy in which the officers smoke dope and indulge in an orgy in an attempt to get into the heads of the criminals is OTT and, quite frankly, it lost me as I pondered its ‘message.’
The second half offers an insightful examination of the backgrounds and motivations of the young militants, all but one of whom are disillusioned, middle-class youth.
Their desire to destroy property, which they were remarkably successful at doing, would, these days, qualify them for some serious psychological counselling.
No doubt they were inspired by the deadly attacks taking place on the other side of the Irish Sea.
There was some terrific ensemble work among the cast members, thanks to the work of director Alex Bryant-Smith.
The set was suitably grotty as befits the ideology of the group, the exception being Anna, who was bitterly castigated by the working-class Jim for buying a teapot.
For all the arguments among the four revolutionaries, this was, perhaps, the most radical act of the drama.
Until Nov 2. New Theatre, 542 King St, Newtown. $20-$35+b.f. Tickets & Info: www.newtheatre.org.au
Reviewed by Irina Dunn