Hats off to James Dacre’s Royal & Derngate for bravely slapping on brand new musical Gin Craze in the very week Lloyd Webber and four other London shows got abruptly pinged-off by test ’n’ trace (more like trick-or-treat, frankly: isolation blackmail).
Royal & Derngate Northampton has announced that it will premiere a season of original musical theatre as part of its upcoming Made in Northampton 2021 season.
Following his hugely successful first year as artistic director, Tom Littler is marking the start of his second year at the helm with a season of new work celebrating rebellious spirits.
“When I was growing up the poor were seen as unfortunates. Now they’re seen as manipulative. Grasping. Scroungers. It’s very sad.” So reflects Shaun (Niall Buggy), a charming, penniless old Irishman with more than a touch of the blarney, facing yet another Kafka-esque nightmare negotiating with the sullen, unyielding bosom of our Housing and Benefits systems in Rebecca Lenkiewicz’s The Invisible. On the day of the Budget, when the latest plans for supposedly solving society’s biggest problems have been touted across every media channel, it’s always tempting for pub philosophers and armchair politicians to make sweeping judgements and dangerously inhumane generalisations; we all have our private theories of blame and retribution for the taxpayer’s burden. The Invisible reminds us that, inside those synthetic statistics, thousands of real individuals – vulnerable, defenceless and alone – uniquely suffer the consequences of each government’s so-called solutions. If the problems they encounter are legal ones, recourse to free help is now dwindling fast, thanks to swingeing cuts to our Justice sector meted out by Grayling and Gove. Hence, these victims become The Invisible: the poorest and weakest in our society, whose voice can quietly stopped by lack of representation or, simply, despair.