Beth Steel’s House of Shadows It is a family drama of the Northumberland working class of three generations, a family drama with a kitchen sink that spans half a century from 1965 to 2019 and watches huge political and social changes and captures the failure and death of the Labor Party.

Beth Steele is the author Wonderlandvivid and strongly staged story of the miners’ strike of 1984/1986, which brought her Evening standard Award for the most promising playwright.

House of Shadows, directed by Blanche McIntyre, is not in the same league, but there are impressive performances by Annie-Marie Duff and Stuart McCoirie as married couples who hate and despise each other. She wanted to go to high school, be a middle class and a famous singer. Eventually she becomes an enraged housewife and mother, lives a hated life and behaves badly.

Her husband was a union officer, a staunch supporter of the Labor Party. Growing up, he became less and less Labor and more and more Tory. His hysterical daughter (Kelly Goff), who remains a staunch Labor, is disgusting.

There are two fantastic scenes in McQuair: one by Aneurin Bevan (Mark Meadows) when they talk about politics; second, when he died and was talking to his living adult son (Michael Grad Hall), the teenage boy was an avid communist; now, in middle age, he is Thatcher.

Older and younger characters are sometimes on the same stage, their current and past physical and verbal skirmishes complement each other. Too many scenes and too many characters; and when some actors double roles, Beth Steele’s play can be confusing and difficult. It would be helpful against a serious reduction.

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Robert Tanitch reviews Beth Steel’s The House of Shades at Almeida Theatre, London

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