Still current threat of institutional racism to be tackled in revival of Barrie Keefe’s SUS.
Acclaimed writer Barrie Keefe’s powerful 1979 political drama SUS is set to be revived in Liverpool by Sidehammer Productions at the Hope Street Theatre and will be performed on 2nd and 3rd of February 2024.
The play, set on election night 1979, and named after the sus laws of the time which made it legal for police to stop and search anyone purely on suspicion, will be brought to life by the team behind last year’s successful revival of John Dillon’s Wearing Colours.
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.
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 and has 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. 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 is made up of Dave J Williamson as Wilby, Rikki Dallas as Delroy and Thom Williamson as Karn.