The Good Soldier Schwejk


Jill Mountford

Jill Mountford reviews The Good Soldier Schwejk (and His Fortunes in the World War) - written by Jaroslav Hasek, published 1923, adapted and directed by Christine Edzard, Sands Films, 2017. Currently being shown in Rotherhithe, London, and soon to be released on DVD.

Christine Edzard has made it her mission to revive interest in what was possibly the first satirical comedy about the absurdity of war. She adapted The Good Soldier Schwejk (sometimes spelt Svejk, pronounced Shvake) to mark the centenary of World War I.

“They steal the roses from our cheeks”


Jill Mountford

A ten-week strike involving recently unionised women home-workers is the subject of Neil Gore’s latest production.

“‘Rouse, Ye Women” is a folk-ballad opera telling the stirring story of the Chainmakers’ Strike of 1910 through uplifting songs sung by Bryony Purdue as Mary MacArthur, and Rowan Godal as “Bird”, a downtrodden chainmaker.

With only a guitar and banjolele, a simple but evocative set, and an imaginative use of lighting, the audience are quickly transported to a backyard outhouse in Cradley Heath.

Jackie Walker's questionable allies


Dale Street

“Anti-Semitism is a crime. Anti-Zionism is a duty” read the banner in front of the stage at Jackie Walker’s performance of her one-person show “The Lynching” at the Edinburgh Fringe in early August.

Walker is currently facing Labour Party disciplinary charges over allegations of antisemitism. She describes her play as “the one-woman show about a real-life witch-hunt: an attempt to destroy Jeremy Corbyn and an entire political movement.”

Rezso Kasztner and Zionism


Dale Street

Was Rezso Kasztner, leader of the Budapest-based Jewish Relief and Rescue Committee during the Nazi occupation of Hungary, a hero who saved the lives of tens or even hundreds of thousands of Jews from the Holocaust? Or was he a collaborator who knowingly played an indispensable role in assisting the Nazis in the deportation and murder of nearly 500,000 Hungarian Jews in a matter of weeks?

The patriotic traitor


Eric Lee

The title of Jonathan Lynn’s new play The Patriotic Traitor could refer to either of the play’s two protagonists.

One, Marshall Philippe Pétain, betrayed France to the Germans in 1940, while believing all the time that he was doing so in order to save the country. The other, his disciple and close friend Charles de Gaulle, was branded a traitor by the Vichy regime and sentenced to death when he fled the country for exile, to take on leadership of the Free French forces.

What happens to a dream deferred?


Jean Lane

A Raisin in the Sun was written in 1959 by Lorraine Hansberry (1930-1965), the first black woman to have a play performed on Broadway and the inspiration behind Nina Simone’s ‘Young Gifted and Black’.

“Bottom up not top down”


Liam Conway

La Villita (Little Village), West Side Chicago, 2001. Parents demand that a school is built on vacant land. Nineteen go on hunger strike to achieve this goal.

They pledge not to back down until there is justice on the south side of town. Many local people turn out to show solidarity with the hunger strikers. Not only do they win the demand for a school but also a role for teachers, parents and students in the design of the new building.

Portraying capitalist injustice


Sandra Robinson

The touring theatre company, Townsend Productions, are now on the road with their excellent play, The Ragged Trousered Philanthropists, based on Robert Tressell’s novel, first published in 1914.

The play is the latest in a string of politically committed and successful plays, including ‘United We Stand’ (the story of the Shrewsbury pickets), ‘We Will Be Free!’ (the Tolpuddle Martyrs story) and ‘On the Road to Freedom’ (a choir and theatre community project).

The cultural front


No quaint period piece (Review of Richard the 3rd by Clive Bradley)
Bringing it all back home (Jimmy Roberts on Bob Dylan)
Forgotten sounds (Maurice Dunstan)

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The Catholic Church:1. From Hollywood To Rome


James P Cannon

Taking advantage of what is left of my rights, I hereby serve notice of intention to join in the public discussions stirred up by President Truman's decision to send a United States ambassador to the Vatican. And if you expect me to be calm and politely restrained in my utterances, you're in for a disappointment. I was burned up about the encroachments of authoritarian clericalism long before the President's decision was announced. His latest stroke of statesmanship just added a little fuel to the flames which have been scaring my tender flesh.

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