In Basildon is a new play by David Eldridge. Never heard of either the play or the playwright. I booked it because I liked the name, and reckoned that since it was being put on at The Royal Court, it was unlikely to be an alternative to Jersey Boys.
The play takes place in the house owned by Len, who is on his death bed. Len has worked at Ford’s Dagenham plant all his life. As his family gather round to see him off, you watch as his death tears them apart rather than brings them closer together. The play is about the southern working class – a Tory working class “authentic Baslidon” – who still feel betrayed by New Labour and who believe Margaret Thatcher was the best thing that ever happened to them.
It’s a commentary on right-wing materialism. It is dark, poignant, witty and funny in the way that Mike Leigh’s plays are. And it’s not patronising, a world away from the mock cockerney sanitised world of Albert Square.
The run finishes on 5th April, so go and see it now – some dates still available. In a year’s time, after it’s transferred to the West End, you can then tell all your middle class mates you saw In Basildon at The Royal Court. Bloody amazing.
By Mike Welsh
More details on tickets here: http://bit.ly/GWr3nJ