BREAD AND BUTTER Dundee Rep. Wed 11-Sat 14 Jun. then touring

So what can you do? The great political sweep of the world goes on, and sometimes we feel helpless. Maybe you can't do much. but you have to try. That seems to be the best position you can take, but even this can feel personally destructive. The beautiful and elegiac work of CP Taylor, who spoke of far more than his Glasgow Jewish heritage in an oeuvre cut short by his early death, seems again and again to articulate this. And perhaps his most complete statement comes in his 1966 play. Bread and Butter.

It actually seems an unlikely choice for a revival. But Taylor's story of two male friends - one a politically committed Marxist, the other a quiet, receptive family man - their wives and their various tiny dramas between 1931 and the time of the play’s first production has much to say. That‘s what Mark Rosenblatt, the 25-year-old director of this production by Dumbfounded Theatre and the Oxford Stage Company tells me. ‘I was reading the play when the anti-capitalist riots were going on in Geneva, and I wondered why I wasn’t out there, and what was it about myself. and my generation - why weren‘t we out there doing something? But there’s something about helplessness in this play, and the great sweep of history being bigger than these little people. I think the war in Iraq has brought

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64 THE LIST :\

that to light; millions of people marched, and yet the Prime Minister still went to war.‘

But this piece is far more than a political play, Rosenblatt maintains. ‘lt’s an extraordinary play about friendship, about how these two men mislead each other. but can still redeem things by tiny acts of affection. It's the kind of play that the Royal Court wouldn‘t do today. but it’s intriguing. There‘s this lovely. gentle Chekhovian rhythm running through it. I also felt connected to it,

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Powerful play about pals

because I‘m Jewish. and these characters remind me of my parents and grandparents, who ran a women's shoe factory in London in the 1930s. It was a real struggle at times. and as this privileged north London Jewish boy. I wanted to explore the difference in the generations.‘

But that the characters are Jewish is not really a factor - this is a quietly powerful play about friendship. You'll

(Steve Cramer)

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