Who's Afraid of the Working Class?

Written by Luke Barnes
Directed by Will Hammond
Performed by LIPA (Liverpool Institute of Performing Arts) third year students
Unity Theatre
3rd - 5th March 2016

Reviewed by Colin Serjent

Although it was a very watchable performance by a group of twelve third year acting students from LIPA, it had nothing knew to say about the various struggles the working class of the UK have had to constantly endure against the domination and bullying of the ruling elite, which comes in various shapes and manifestations.

In essence, it asked more questions than gave answers to in how to even begin to resolve this major disparity. Protest is not an end in itself.

But like recent productions by YEP (Young Everyman and Playhouse Theatre) it is heartening to see young people expressing their dissatisfaction and frustration at the way society has become, with prevalent massive cuts to state spending, etc.

Given that the main protagonist in this production was ex-miner John (Connor Lee Dye) I found it staggering that no reference was made to the UK miners' strike (1984-85), which was one of the major confrontations between the working class and the British State during the 20th century.

Who's Afraid of the Working Class was a fast-paced and eye catching play, staged with a coloured building-black set, that covered three generations of a family, dating back to 1947, when rationing was still in place. It then focused on different time periods since then.

It emphasised the continual hardships and almost daily efforts to make ends meet by many working class families, with writer Luke Barnes strongly making the point that the children and their children born since 1947 have inherited the same problems that their family members faced just after WW2.

The final scene was mawkish to the extreme. The mum and dad from the 40s were seen looking down on their neighbourhood from Heaven, hoping that things will get better for the working class. They must have been dreaming....

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