With anti-austerity protestors – including scores of disaffected young people – on the street with increasing regularity (not least at this month’s Conservative Party Conference), could there be a more urgent or relevant time to talk about the themes in Barrie Keefe’s modern masterpiece Barbarians?
And could there be a more exciting production around which to centre the discussion than Tooting Arts Club’s highly acclaimed, site-specific promenade production that sprawls out over several floors of the former Central Saint Martin’s Art College building (so closely associated with the birth of Punk) in Charing Cross Road?
In 1977, Britain had just emerged from a worldwide recession. It was the Queen’s silver jubilee year but Paul, Jan and Louis had little to celebrate. With widespread youth unemployment and little opportunity on the horizon, there was anarchy in the air.
Barbarians follows the fluctuating fortunes of its three male characters on a journey that is as humorous as it is brutal, to the soundtrack of The Clash, the Sex Pistols and the Jam. Central Saint Martins provides the perfect setting, steeped in the punk culture of that time, to revive this acclaimed production which is as relevant now as it was then.
For the post-show Q&A on Tuesday 27 October, I’ll be joined by author Barrie Keefe, producer Rachel Edwards (whose other recent credits include the Tooting Arts Club pie-shop Sweeney Todd), designer Simon Kenny and Barbarians stars Thomas Coombes, Jake Davies and Josh Williams. The Q&A is free to all ticket holders.