Theatre of the underdog

Fierce, unkempt little Jack Russells of the world that we are, the Brits love an underdog. We're fiercely proud of our theatre as an edgy scene full of underappreciated bohemians, and equally bashful about success, only deeming our films and plays a true smash if they "crack the States" whilst simultaneously, self-protectively believing America's cult of the winner to be just a bit tasteless and tawdry. Hence it strikes me as quintessentially English that, in the midst of all our exciting new writing, a young London theatre company should set out with a mission to "rehabilitate as-yet-misunderstood plays and revisit unjustly neglected masterworks".

Russell Bolam, artistic director of Green for Go, has a "long shortlist" of plays he thinks deserve a second chance, either because the premiere production did not do service to the inherent potential of the play and consequently got a pasting from the critics, or because a relevant, innovative foreign text has been unfairly ignored in the UK. Although there may well be several lean, sexy plays out there struggling to break free from the bloated corpses of bad productions, there's also a definite danger of flogging deservingly dead nags, not to mention bruising a good few egos along the way. And it's debatable whether this is a necessary or even valid doctrine when there is so much original work clamouring to be seen even just once.

CONTINUE READING AT THE GUARDIAN...