Michael Billington: Yes, I mean 1958 was a very significant year; two writers appeared that year, one of them was John Arden with a play called Sargent Musgrave's Dance which was done at the Royal Court Theatre. It attracted I think, twenty eight per cent capacity business but those who liked it liked it enormously and wrote letters to the paper saying 'this man is a major writer'.
Whenever I see the play, and it's quite often revived, it's an incredibly morally ambiguous play about violence. It's about a group of deserters from the Crimean War who take over a northern mining town and try to hold the citizens to ransom, to bring home the violence of war. The point about the play is you never quite know where Arden stands; the leading character is both a missionary and a madman...
FREE TALK: Tune into the calypsos of the great commanders and griots of this art form including Kitchener, Terror, Beginner, Roaring Lion and Sparrow, who all spent time in the Britain in the 1950s and '60s.
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