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Posts Tagged ‘BNP’

This is the first play at the Wellcome Collection and takes place as a promenade performance in the galleries. It unfolds over three stages – a home, a pub and a church – with Billy Bragg and his band providing a musical commentary from a fourth stage. It’s part of their ‘identity’ project and follows an exhibition which explored its various aspects.

The death of an old soldier exposes the tensions between the post-war values of a welcoming and open Britain and sets these alongside the more recent attitudes of a working class feeling threatened by immigration, ignored by government and recruited by nationalists like the BNP. The successful son, returning from the US for the funeral, is horrified at the racism. His brother, about to stand as a nationalist candidate, is outraged at the righteousness of someone who has escaped what he perceives as threats.

It’s a very personal story, yet it makes its points very successfully with an admirable sense of balance. It seeks to explain rather than preach and I left both repelled by the racism but more understanding of how we got there.

Playwright Mick Gordon and director Christopher Haydon have done an excellent job. Designer Tom Scutt has created a space which allows you to follow the story as if you’re actually peering through the windows of these places. There isn’t a fault in the casting. It seems somehow appropriate that Barking boy Billy Bragg  provides the music with added commentary (and instructions) and his charm means he just about gets away with!

For the second time in a few days, an intelligent and important state-of-the-nation play. GO!

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