Permanent Way

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Friday 23 April 2004 10.22am
If you can still get tickets, I'd recommend anyone to go and see this excellent play at the Littleton (National Theatre). Mrs I and I took our merkins down there last night.

Told in the style of a montage of excerpts from (presumably real)interviews with: survivors and bereaved relatives of the major rail crashes; the ex head of Railtrack; transport police; civil servants; etc it's a really well told story that contains a lot of information and had the whole audience (at least those that I could hear) coming out discussing what we'd seen in impressively shocked tones. For me, it captured the sort of social activism that the best theatre can spark off (and that I haven't seen on stage for donkeys'), and did it all in a dramatically compelling way that kept my attention all the way through (in spite of the uncomfy seats).

Oh, and we got our tickets for a tenner a piece (Travelex sponsored thingy - don't know whether 10 tickets will still be available, but the quality of entertainment is worth more than that anyway).



...there's plenty more c**** in the cup.
Friday 23 April 2004 12.16pm
It's a great piece of theatre. Even the scaled down version done on Radio 3 a few weeks ago made for compelling two hours.

National Theatre page

Out of Joint Theatre Co's production web-site

The interviews are real...

Max Stafford-Clark (Director)

“In February 2003, I began a two week period of research with David Hare and a group of actors. There was no script at this point, just a list of phone numbers and contacts with people who had been involved at different levels in the railway industry.

“We met bankers and civil servants involved in the original privatisation. We talked to several directors of major train operating companies. We talked to the bereaved and survivors of train crashes. Some of the actors spent time working as ticket collectors, clad in train uniforms; and others observed and talked to a track gang for several days. Everybody was happy to talk and keen to tell their story. At the start of each day, we would each report our encounters to the whole group. From these stories and these meetings David crafted this compelling play.

“It's been a challenging journey of discovery for all of us, and David's play is a record of some of the extraordinary and inspiring people we met.” .

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