Garrick theatre

Morally repugnant: Boys From the Blackstuff, at the Garrick Theatre, reviewed

Yosser Hughes is regarded as a national treasure. He first appeared in 1982 in Alan Bleasdale’s TV drama, Boys from the Blackstuff, which followed a crew of Liverpool workers who lay tarmac (‘black stuff’) for a living. When their contract expires the lads are left shocked and helpless even though job security is not a perk of their profession. The atmosphere of the show, adapted by James Graham, may come as a surprise to those who know Yosser by reputation only. Far from being a worker’s champion, Yosser is a crook, a hypocrite and a class-traitor. He and his friends moonlight for cash while claiming state benefits, which are, of

Forgettable stuff: The Crown Jewels, at the Garrick, reviewed

In the 1990s, the BBC had a popular flat-share comedy, Men Behaving Badly, about a pair of giggling bachelors who were scolded and dominated by their mummy-substitute girl-friends. The author, Simon Nye, has written a historical crime caper about the theft of the crown jewels in 1671, as Charles II prepared to celebrate his tenth year on the throne. The psychological co-ordinates of the play are poorly handled. The thief, Colonel Blood, is an irritating Irish crosspatch who wants to drive the hated English from his homeland. Charles (played by Al Murray) is more attractive, a fun-loving gadabout who enjoys sex, jokes and science and who can’t bear Puritans. So

Deserves to be a permanent winter fixture: Potted Panto at the Garrick reviewed

Potted Panto is a 70-minute parody presented by two burlesque comedians. Jeff is a tall, playful bungler and his colleague, Dan, is a squat, dour authoritarian who likes to see everything done efficiently. They leap on stage and declare their plan to present a compendium of the best-known Christmas shows. ‘All six of them,’ says Dan. ‘No, all twelve,’ contradicts Jeff, unfurling a list that includes classics from the TV schedules like A Christmas Carol and Das Boot. He insists that these non-pantos are included in their panto rundown. And so a war of opposites begins. Jeff is all appetite and instinct while Dan stands for reason and method. Or,