SUS: VENUE MAGAZINE. ***** 5 STARS. Tom Phillips. July 2009

Fuck me, but this is good: 90 minutes of sleeves-up, no-nonsense drama set on the eve of Thatcher's 1979 electoral landslide and bristling with cruelty, violence and indignation. Pulled in on 'sus'(picion), Leon Delroy is being interrogated by two Jurassic-era cops who make those Life on Mars jokers look like implausible imaginary boys. That's about it for storyline but, despite being a claustrophobic three-hander, Barrie Keefe's 'instant political' script (written in the aftermath of Thatch's victory and based on a true story) creates a state-of-the-nation snapshot that's both ugly and compelling. Delroy just happens to be black and unemployed, and his Big Sister-idolising interrogators gloat over the blue-suited one's imminent ascent to Number 10 when, they believe, they'll be able to treat the likes of their suspect with contempt and impunity, their xenophobia sanctioned from on high.

Directed by Katharine Rogers, Splice Productions' revival stages all this in the round (no mean feat when beatings are involved) and, given that Britain now has BNP MEPs in Brussels, it couldn't be more timely. As Delroy, Huss Garbiya is magnificently understated, his geezerish chirpiness slowly but surely eroded under pressure, while newby BOV Theatre School graduate Jack Wharrier makes an impressive debut as the meat-headed, dog-mourning Wilby and Bob Gwilym prowls the stage as boss man Karn with the confidence and presence of a psychotic Sean Connery. That this is in the Bridewell, only yards from where similar interrogations may have taken place, gives it an added edge, but even if it was being performed in a leafy garden, you'd be hard-pressed to find fault.


SUS. Bob Gwilym, Huss Garbiya, Jack Wharrier. Photos: Toby Farrow.

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