LIVE REVIEW: Shafted is a mining masterpiece

After the miners were defeated in 1984 when the media circus went home and the  mining communities were left to find their way again, what happened next?

By The Newsroom
Wednesday, 24th February 2016, 2:00 pm
Updated Wednesday, 24th February 2016, 2:05 pm
John Godber and Jane Thornton in Shafted!
John Godber and Jane Thornton in Shafted!




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Harry (John Godber) and his wife Dot (Jane Thornton) are left like many others to fight their way through depression, unemployment, job to job and hand to mouth, from Wakefield to Bridlington.

This story shows glimpses of their lives spanning thirty years.

The play begins with the miners’ strike of 1984-85 with striking miner Harry and his wife Dot entering the stage to a pro-strikers chant.

Act One goes forward in time and gives the audience glimpses of the old world of security and union solidarity leading on to how the character of Harry is directed by his experiences. He refuses to work for the council, becomes a bin man and window cleaner which he then gives up on a whim letting his wife take two jobs.

Act Two goes backwards in time and shows how the situation of Dot and Harry has changed and how they, despite Harry behaving very badly at times, make decisions to shape their lives. How they fought back after being 'shafted!'

Godber took the decision to present the play in a series of filmic realistic scenes and to have no direct audience address, unlike in his more famous plays, Bouncers, Teechers and Shakers etc. This means that each scene has to set a mood, place and tone very quickly.

I found this cleverly structured quick fire succession of crisp scenes, underscored by pop music of the time, kept the audience, myself included both politically educated, enlightened and entertained.