Thursday 1st April 2010
Theatre is often hyped as an arena that, unlike film or tv, is mercifully free of censorship. If only… This week, an excellent production of Philip Ridley’s Moonfleece has been banned, yes banned, by a local authority for fear of offending local racists. Where are we living? Could this really be happening here? And yes, this is no April Fool: Dudley council, one of the stops on a nationwide tour of areas where the BNP have a substantial support, has banned the play from being performed in the Mill Theatre in the Dormston Centre. It is little compensation to laugh at those Dudley councillors who seem excessively fearful of the BNP. You can just imagine them quaking in their boots, shitting their pants… or are they all too busy preparing to welcome the English Defence League, which is scheduled to have a flagship rally in the city just two days after Moonfleece was due to visit? I would suggest that they just stick up some notices: “Welcome to Dudley — racist centre of the West Midlands!” Whether they are cowards or racists makes little difference however. The really stupid thing is that, although Ridley’s play is about racism, it is also so much more than just a political tract — it is a wonderfully imagined and powerful play about being young in Britain today. And surely that transcends racial divisions?
© Aleks Sierz