Review: If You Don't Let Us Dream, We Won't Let You Sleep

By John Nathan, February 28, 2013
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Royal Court, London SW1

In 2010 the Finborough Theatre staged Anders Lustgarten’s brilliant play about British far-right politics. Called A Day at the Racists, it revealed how the far-right attract the support of white working-class voters; and how neglect by the politically correct left had turned its supporters’ impulse for social justice into resentment against immigrants. The play’s power lay in giving the British National Party some of the best arguments, thereby challenging the left to reclaim them.

This time Lustgarten’s target — rampant capitalists — might as well have horns sticking out of their head. Here they have come up with a new financial model that “monetises” that which has traditionally been funded by the state — education, health, policing — and then they go one step further by inventing a bond that makes money when crime figures go up. It is a system that turns the vulnerable into fodder for the market.

Our heroes are Occupy-style revolutionaries who are to try the government in absentia, and the system it supports. Our villains are privileged politicians and City hedge-fund scum. By using an almost set-less stage Simon Godwin’s production focuses attention on compelling arguments that are passionately put. But it is the kind of preachy stuff that is more manifesto than drama. (www.royalcourttheatre.com)

Last updated: 12:57pm, February 28 2013