The Tailors' Last Stand

Barons Court Theatre, London W14

Saturday 23 February 2013

by Peter Frost


I would love a pound for every time I did what I was doing the other night. I turned up at the pub, bought myself a drink and took the stairs to one of those grubby and depressing rooms we all know so well.

I was at a union meeting.

A few comrades had arrived. The branch secretary was looking worried about whether we would have a quorum as he pulled agendas and minutes from his backpack.

But it wasn't just another union meeting. I was in a small fringe theatre for communist writer Ian Buckley's latest play The Tailors' Last Stand.

We were at the very final branch meeting as four old communist tailors read the last rites on both their beloved Tailor and Garment Workers Union branch and their long political lives.

Tight direction from Harry Saks brings out plenty of laughs and a touch of pathos as the four - played by Edmund Dehn, Richard Ward, Tony Parkin and Terry Jermyn - argue, fight and fondly remember.

And the play, supported by Unity Theatre and the GMB union, also reveals a deeper and darker secret hidden for so long in the murky history of the international communist movement but revealed at the union meeting.

"It does one's heart good to see a new play bringing old Bolsheviks to the London stage," left-wing theatre veteran Harry Landis tells me afterwards. "Despite the ups and downs of our movement they still have something important to say."

Who could disagree?

Runs until March 10, box office:             (020) 8932 4747      . Mention Morning Star for discounted tickets, price 10.