This series of vignettes of Friday night life on an unnamed Northern street created a stir 30 years ago, largely because of Simon Curtis’s promenade production, in which the audience walked around the various houses, seeming to spy on the inhabitants.
Director John Tiffany seeks to reproduce the excitement on a Proscenium stage with his trademark brand of synchronised movement and by setting much of the action in a mobile Perspex cube.
This, however, works against the play’s naturalism and emphasises its repetitiveness.
Not only is most of the play taken up with unedifying drinking and rutting rituals, but the mutual dependence and quiet despair of people on the breadline have of late been far more profoundly explored by Jimmy McGovern on TV and Jon McGregor in fiction.
Moreover, there is something innately distasteful in watching the well-heeled Royal Court audience pruriently sampling the rawness of working-class life. This is Sloane Square sneering at Salford.
ROAD Royal Court, London SW1 (Tickets 020 7565 5000/royalcourttheatre.com: £12-£38)