This new play on austerity tackles the identity crisis at heart of Labour, but suffers from a similar lack of focusby Serena Kutchinsky / December 10, 2014 / Leave a comment
Is there hope for the Labour party? That is the question around which Jack Thorne’s provocative new play pivots. Focusing on the distinctly unfestive topic of austerity, Thorne, a long-time Labour supporter and award-winning screen and playwright, lays bare the identity crisis at the core of Ed Miliband’s party. It’s a theme which feels more topical than ever in the wake of last week’s Autumn Statement, with Labour’s muddled response implying that if in government they would continue public spending cuts. Budgets still need to be slashed, said the Two Eds, although they promised to wield the knife more compassionately.
The premise of Thorne’s play is simple; a Labour council in an unnamed working-class town has to make a budget saving of £22m. The choices facing the town’s motley collection of councillors are stark—there’s a cap on tax, the urban farm has shut and it’s now a toss up between slashing care for the elderly, the young or the disabled. Where will the axe fall and, will pragmatism triumph over principle and emotion?
While the subject matter might sound weighty and somewhat wonkish (aren’t real life politicians bad enough?), Thorne’s playful humour and John Ti…