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In London theatre, Opinion, Plays, Reviews by Johnny FoxLeave a Comment

In 1975 Emmylou Harris might have walked all the way from Boulder to Birmingham but in 1842 a weedy, tweedy small-town teacher and small-time socialist named George Holyoake actually walked from Birmingham to Bristol to visit a friend imprisoned for publishing a journal criticising the establishment. He pauses in conservative Cheltenham to give a talk to the Chartists about migration and Poor Law reform – and because of one glancingly atheistic remark, is arrested and tried for blasphemy.

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WASTE – National Theatre

In London theatre, Opinion, Plays, Reviews by Aleks SierzLeave a Comment

Do scandals have a sell-by date? When it comes to sex and politicians, the answer is no. The tabloids, and the news-hungry public, still seem to relish a good story about a powerful man who is caught with his trousers around his ankles. So Harley Granville Barker’s Waste — first put on in 1907 and then rewritten some 20 years later — is ostensibly a highly relevant drama of a personal tragedy in which our characteristic national mix of prurience and puritanism gets a longwinded airing. Certainly, the plot is instantly recognisable.