The Revival Of Barrie Keefe’s 'SUS' By Sidehammer Productions In The Liverpool City Region Tackles The Continued Threat Of Institutional Racism
Acclaimed writer Barrie Keefe’s powerful 1979 political drama, 'SUS', is set to be revived in the Liverpool City Region by Sidehammer Productions at The Hope Street Theatre. With the play being performed on the 2nd and 3rd of February 2024.
The play is set on election night in 1979, and named after the sus laws of the time which made it legal for police to stop and search anyone purely on suspicion. It will be brought to life by the team behind last year’s successful revival of John Dillon’s Wearing Colours which earned itself a fantastic and gritty 5 Stars from The Liverpudlian.
'Although the play takes place in 1979 it is still in many ways, very much a reflection of our world now.' - Thom Williamson of Sidehammer Productions.
The play takes place during the graveyard shift at a police station, as two detectives, embittered yet empowered by the prospect of a new right-wing government, place bets on which party will win. When a black man is arrested and accused of his wife’s murder, he is incensed, believing that he will be fodder for an incoming government keen to flex its law-and-order muscles.
Keefe’s classic, harrowing play is a powerful, politicised cry against the still-current threat of institutional racism and uncompromisingly depicts a corrupt world which looks all too familiar today.
The Play's Global Impact
Originally performed in London shortly after Margaret Thatcher was swept to power, the play has since proven popular around the world and has played in New York, Los Angeles, Europe and Australia, as well as having had adaptations in Pakistan and India. In 2010, a film version of the play was released.
The team at Sidehammer Productions are hoping that audiences come away from thus new adaptation with an awareness of the parallels in today’s world with the events depicted in the play.
As Sidehammer’s Thom Williamson, explains: 'Although the play takes place in 1979 it is still in many ways, very much a reflection of our world now.'
He added: 'In the last year alone there have been shocking reports of racism, misogyny, homophobia and bullying in public institutions such as the Met and LFB, and many of the sickening views expressed by Karn and Wilby are still being echoed in the dehumanizing rhetoric used by many politicians today.'
Sidehammer’s new adaptation of the play will be helmed by Wearing Colours’ director Sean Ponzini and his cast consisting of Dave J Williamson as Wilby, Rikki Dallas as Delroy and Thom Williamson as Karn.
Previous Praise For Barrie Keefe’s SUS
‘Barrie Keefe’s … play is a nightmare: hard, rough, instant political drama at it’s best. The horror of it is that the nightmare just might be true.’ – The Guardian.
‘Mr Keefe’s writing is taut, sharp, devastatingly accurate.’ – Financial Times ‘As chilling as it is convincing.’ - Time Out.
‘…this should seem more of a period piece than it is.’ – Evening Standard ‘Sus is hair-raising. This is a horrifying portrait of injustice and racism.’ - Independent On Sunday.
SUS by Barrie Keefe will take place at the Hope Street Theatre in Liverpool City Centre on Friday the 2nd and Saturday the 3rd of February 2024.