Review of Chicken Soup with Barley at the Royal Court, by Arnold Wesker, directed by Dominic Cooke

Posted: July 23, 2016 in Uncategorized

Theatre's Not Dead!

‘Chicken Soup with Barley’, while being a hearty meal makes for a largely depressing play. Heavily political it charts the success of capitalism and the death of socialism accelerated by gaps of ten years in London’s East End. It’s depressing because it’s about the death of ideas and progress, and a violent call to arms against political apathy which seemingly has fallen on deaf ears. Shocking when it was first performed, the overtly political messages of the play have lost none of their zeal today, and it is easy to see why theRoyal Court have chosen to stage it.

Politically ‘Important’ and ‘Relevant’ it may be, I found the play to be a gloomy experience with little in the way of catharsis; it was far more about ideas than people. The characters were all quite extravagant and representative of political identities that I felt little attachment to them, and didn’t…

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