REVIEW IN THE CAMDEN REVIEW
The Taylor's Last Stand at Barons Court Theatre
The Taylor's Last Stand
07 March, 2013
by JACK COURTNEY O'CONNOR
THE TAILOR’S LAST STAND
Barons Court Theatre
WRITER and academic Ian Buckley based this play on his Communist tailor father’s anecdotes about the meetings of the National Union of Tailors and Garment Workers, as well as Communist Party meetings his father attended.
This is in some ways an endearing play – but, as O’Brien tells his comrade colleague Barney after listening to a long and rather tedious anti-Stalin joke: “You need a good punch line!”
Buckley’s piece is a rather lightweight, sentimental offering that lacks a hard-edged analysis of the failure of the British left and of world communism – but that would be a different play.
Here we have four elderly comrades winding up their union branch and reminiscing on past glories.
The action takes place in the meeting room of the Bethnal Green Labour Party, in which portraits of all the post-war Labour leaders line the walls – with one obvious exception.
The ethnic mix of the comrades rings true and reminded me of colleagues who attended Young Socialist meetings in the 1960s: an Irish cockney from “County Kilburn”, two quarrelsome Jewish tailors – bespoke, of course – Max and Barney (Edmund Dehn and Tony Parkin) and a humorous Welshman, George (Terry Jermyn).
The sub-plot, which centred on Max and Barney and the love of their lives who disappeared in the Soviet Union is only marginally successful but director Harry Saks adds much visual interest and the actors perform with style and gusto.
UNTIL MARCH 10
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