Monday, April 22

Truth To Power Café – Conway Hall, London

Inspired by his father Mick Goldstein’s friendship with ‘The Hackney Gang’ (six childhood friends – Harold Pinter, Henry Woolf, Mick Goldstein, Jimmy Law, Ron Percival and Moishe Wernick), Jeremy Goldstein has collaborated with the gang’s only living member Henry Woolf to continue his journey of discovery.  In the 1940’s and 50’s the gang would meet up and throw around ideas about literature and poetry amongst other things, trying to escape from the problems going on in the big wide world and inhabit their own creative world.

Previously, Goldstein Jr had worked on adapting his father’s work ‘Spider Love’ with Henry Woolf.  After his father’s death in 2014, Goldstein found a play his father had written and decided to develop it.  I had been written in answer to a book written by Pinter called ‘The Dwarfs’, which is believed to have been based upon The Hackney Gang. 

This piece of theatre is full of personal and painful memories and one feels that you are joining Goldstein in his healing process.  Having suffered a tempestuous relationship with his father, and then coming to terms with his death, Goldstein found a new understanding of his father’s own hidden insecurities.

In coming to terms with a renewed understanding of his father and the love and empathy he could now feel for him, this in turn made him question the power his father had over him. 

Using the medium of theatre, Goldstein has thrown the net wider and now with the London Artists Projects, they are bringing together people from all walks of life to confront the people who have power over them and decide how they would like to speak to them in this open forum.

Recorded live at Conway Hall in London, this powerful piece of theatre acts as a platform for people to speak out.  Against racism “the colour of your skin should not determine who I am”, a trans man who just wishes to be treated how everyone else is treated.  Having a voice against the oppressors who abuse, but also regimes that encourage capitalism and our lack of control over our loss of privacy due to data sharing.  This project is ongoing and seeks to encourage people to shrug off whatever has power over them and to release themselves.

This theatrical piece communicates the message that hope can come from loss.  We can resist those powerful forces which seek to suppress our own will.  These are strong messages delivered with music, spoken word and poetry.  We see Henry Woolf appearing which cleverly brings together the past and reflects on how the past influences the present and the future.

There are important messages here and under the direction of Jen Heyes who has adapted this normally live performance into a digital production, the presence of The Hackney Gang is felt through its philosophical and political themes.

Reviewer: Caroline Worswick

Reviewed: 16th October 2020

North West End UK Rating: ★★★★