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Theatre’s left-wing blimps

Britain has changed a lot since the 1960s, but you wouldn't know it from its theatre

By John Elsom   March 2008

British theatre is in some kind of timewarp. It revives 40-year-old plays considered to be radical in their day as if they were modern classics. It treats the 1960s generation of left-wing dramatists, including Edward Bond, Harold Pinter, David Hare and Howard Brenton, as if they were beyond criticism. But we have moved on since those days, and they have not moved with us.

Jonathan Kent must have thought that it would come as a bit of a shock to offer Bond’s 1973 play The Sea during his season as artistic director at the Haymarket. This is the most Edwardian…

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