While the theatre of escape still provides satisfaction for most of Cardiff’s ever-increasing audiences,
we now have another symptom of these hard times; a new radical group has quietly started touring
local pubs and community centres with an excellent subversive show.
Unity Too (the company’s name echoes the famous workers theatre established in the thirties with
a pun that may suggest that something else is needed as well) are taking Les Smith’s “It’s a Bobby’s Job”,
devised with Rochdale’s M6 theatre Company, round local venues that don’t normally get professional theatre.
It’s people’s theatre in the best tradition and it’s one of the healthiest happenings in the area for a long while.
The play is very funny sharp political satire, and any local inferences that the audience might draw from this
‘comedy of misadventure’ adds spice to the dedication to the 274 people who died in police custody in
England and Wales between 1970 and 1979. But Unity Too’s chances of survival don’t rest just on good
material: they have a very good production here, and some good comic acting from Carl Bunce, Bill Bellamy and Debbie Pritchard.
I saw it in The Wolf’s Castle, a pub in the middle of the huge estate in Llanishen, and any cast who can hold their
own against a crib match, space invaders, a skittles game next door and general pub chat can be well satisfied.
But they did more than hold a curios audience. The bar filled up during the performance so that by the end of the
show a packed pub willingly extended the agip-prop exercise by discussing it until closing time. That’s more than
did the audience at Rattle of a Simple man, which was a rival attraction in the city; but I doubt if any of those crammed
into The Wolf’s Castle would have been there anyway.