Review: The Tailors’ Last Stand

Written for The Stage

Ian Buckley’s gently humorous new offering is a touching testament to 20th century British socialism. Based on his father’s accounts of retired tailors’ trade union meetings, The Tailors’ Last Stand is full of antiquated language and disappointed dreams. But the sentiments of these faded ‘comrades’ also chime potently with the hopes of modern ‘brothers and sisters’ such as Occupy, thus contextualising contemporary struggles.

This cast wouldn’t look out of place in Dad’s Army and although they appear a bit shaky on their legs and lines they are a watchable and likeable bunch. As the mischievous Tom, Richard Ward is a warm mediator to Terry Jermyn’s zany George and the emotionalism exploding between old love foes Edmund Dehn – as the officious Max – and Tony Parkin’s querulous Barney.

Cleo Harris-Seaton’s lemon-walled NHS waiting room design gives a potent sense of faded grandeur, while the Labour leaders who adorn the walls do a nice job of reminding us what the party meant before Tony Blair. Buckley cleverly ties in the struggles of communism as a global concept with the personal struggles of these retired communists and, apart from a contrived piece of business around a doctor, this is a sharply written piece.

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