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Curtain comes up on banned far right play

PUBLISHED: 11:58 08 April 2010 | UPDATED: 17:47 25 August 2010

MOONFLEECE:Ashley George as Gavin, Bradley Taylor as Tommy and Reece Noi as Link.

MOONFLEECE:Ashley George as Gavin, Bradley Taylor as Tommy and Reece Noi as Link.

Adam Levy

A BANNED play charting the rise of the far right is being staged in the borough next week. Greenwich Theatre in Crooms Hill, Greenwich, is hosting Moonfleece next Thursday for three nights after the council-run Dormston Centre in Dudley banned the play

A BANNED play charting the rise of the far right is being staged in the borough next week.

Greenwich Theatre in Crooms Hill, Greenwich, is hosting Moonfleece next Thursday for three nights after the council-run Dormston Centre in Dudley banned the play fearing it may offend some residents.

The play by Philip Ridley, 45, from Bethnal Green, East London, centres on an active member of a far-right party mourning his brother and is currently touring areas where the BNP is on the rise.

James Haddrell, excecutive director at Greenwich Theatre, said: "It feels astonishing that in the 21st century a piece of theatre can be brought down by any particular political or social group.

"This is a good play, an important play, and a great evening at the theatre. The furore in Dudley simply makes me more proud to be bringing this show to Greenwich.

"No one will be forced to see it if they don't want to, but audiences surely deserve to decide for themselves."

Over the course of 90 minutes, the protagonist is confronted by fellow BNP-styled party-members, his ex-girlfriend and her Asian best friend, a gay student journalist and a clairvoyant in a wheelchair.

Moonfleece was due to be staged in Dudley today, while the far right organisation which claims to "Counter Jihad movement based in England" - the English Defence League - have a rally organised to take place in the town on Saturday. The current production of Moonfleece has toured to some of the

country's most racially sensitive areas, passing through

east London, Leicester, Birmingham, Bradford and Doncaster without protest.

But, Mr Haddrell said that choosing to stage the play in Greenwich and The Riverside Studios in Hammersmith was more of a choice about getting a good London 'airing'.

He added: "The decision is less about the state of local politics and more about the getting the play seen."

Producer of the play, Will Young, said: "In the 1990s, with the Stephen Lawrence murder, there was a history of racism.

"But, in a way it has overcome that and there has been a

lot of artistic regeneration in the area. So, the decision to close the show at Greenwich felt hopeful.

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