Fresh from a highly-acclaimed run at the Edinburgh Fringe, The Political History of Smack and Crack now transfers to Soho Theatre. This angry, funny love-song explores a lost generation annihilated by the heroin epidemic in Manchester, following a pair of star-crossed lovers from 1981 to the present day.
The arresting play, both entertaining and urgent, from writer Ed Edwards, crackles with authenticity inspired by Edwards’ own road to recovery. Directed by Cressida Brown, this twohander, starring Eve Steele and Neil Bell, begins in 1980s Moss Side at the epicentre of the working-class riots – an uprising which spread to London, Birmingham, Leeds, Liverpool and many more – and follows the pair through their eventual struggles on the streets of Manchester.
The energetic Northern humour of Edwards’ writing illuminates his own experiences of rehab, narcotics dependency, and three and a half years in jail in the early 1990s. Funny and relevant the play is also striking in terms of its form. The bold style of the third person narration takes on a more desperate overtone as the two protagonists begin to tell their own story.
The company comments, “We are immensely grateful that the Edinburgh audiences have so enjoyed our show and that it has given us the profile to reach an even wider audience in London. After Soho we hope to reach even more communities and regions that were directly struck by the heroin epidemic of the 80s. Both Most Wanted and Offstage are committed to unheard voices reaching the stage. Edinburgh has allowed us to continue doing this. Watch this space!
Through cycles of addiction and recovery, The Political History of Smack and Crack uses the playwright’s own experience of narcotics dependency to examine how the politics of the 80s trapped people in poverty and addiction. This is particularly poignant and relevant in this time of political uncertainty and deepening inequality; the production allows us to consider past acts of rebellion against the status quo.
Following its run at Soho Theatre, The Political History of Smack and Crack will transfer to the city from which it was born, Manchester where it will play at the Mustard Tree – a local refuge providing care for people trapped by homelessness, dependency and poverty since 1994. Produced by Most Wanted and Offstage Theatre in association with W14 Productions and Alastair Michael and co-commissioned by Soho Theatre.