Wonderland at Northern Stage

Written by Beth Steel, a miners daughter and directed by
Adam Penford, this is spirited revisiting of what remains a dark and deep scar
in this country’s history. It still divides people at the family level and also
at the political level.

The set was excellent, the acting and singing very good and
there was plenty of historical and personal material delivered well and frequently
with dark humour to make this a very good play.

The first act shows the camaraderie of the miners from their
early training which could be 16 years of age or 14, further back in time. The importance
of burying (sic) personal differences and supporting each other in a life threatening
environment is made clear. The political build up is explained in the limited
time and whilst Scargill and Thatcher are not represented on stage, their views

The 2nd Act shows the lengthy strike started
without a ballot which I believe was an error by Scargill. I suspect he would
have won a ballot and that would have helped carry the country with him
although there is an argument that it might not. From the play and what I read
the police were misused by the government as was the media. People and children
died hardening attitudes. Benefits controlled to squeeze the miners resistance.
Ultimately the power of the Miners Union was broken, communities destroyed and
this has carried through to a very much weakened Trade union movement which has
been silent as a gig economy thrives. It also cost the government a lot more
than they saved in money terms. There was a problem wit the viability and
safety of some mines but ultimately it was a power struggle at the Top.

There was a lot presented in the 2 hours of the Play. My neighbours
in the seats included a Councillor (local government elected office) who at the
interval said that Labour Councillors she worked with were still divided (“blanked”
the other) between those who crossed the picket line and those who did not. On my
other side, two ex miners confirmed that it was a good reflection of what was

Rebus: Long Shadows at Theatre Royal the previous week was
pleasant play featuring Ron Donachie using Ian Rankin’s novel and Rona Munro as
playwright. It was for fans of Rebus a gritty aging (in this case retired) detective
in Edinburgh drawn into a prior case. Ron was very realistic in his portrayal
but there was little extra in Acting and story to appeal, only on to a fan of Rebus.

Next week Opera North are in town and am off to Magic Flute
on Friday and Rite of Spring .

Busy booking for April to June and have booked Bourne’s Swan
Lake already and busy with other plans. Good variety of show by the looks of