Townsend Productions latest is another hit with our reviewer, David Vass

We Are the Lions, Mr Manager!

Townsend Productions’ latest play sees the further development of Neil Gore as a writer of increasing confidence and individuality. In this unapologetic polemic, we still got his signature mix of songs and sketches, but he and director Louise Townsend have otherwise largely dispensed with the whimsy and stage trickery of earlier productions, so that We Are the Lions, Mr Manager emerged as an altogether more sober and affecting work.

Medhavi Patel, in the central role of the extraordinary Jayaben Desai, was outstanding. She brought a genuine power and resonance to the words culled from Desai’s speeches, giving them a raw authenticity that had the audience breaking into spontaneous applause throughout. Gore was content to give able support, and while some of the broader comedy felt shoehorned in, did so with his usual gusto and commitment.

The play was at its best when exposing the murky and ambiguous relationship between leviathan union power and an impotent Labour government. While Dickensian company directors may have been the catalyst for the dispute, Gore’s text bravely focused on the queasy machinations of those that should have been supporting the woman, and the consequences of not holding the line.

By David Vass