Ink, The Almeida Theatre, London. July 2017.
Wow - what a play. I am so glad that after a dip in June that the plays I've seen in July have meant that summer 2017 hasn't been a washout after all.
This is a play about the newspaper industry in 1969/1970. Rupert Murdoch has just bought a failing newspaper, The Sun, and challenges the new editor to make it outsell The Mirror within a year. He doesn't really care how this happens...
The first act is quite light, the explanation of how Larry Lamb sets his paper up is actually done through a song and dance routine - don't wince it was amazing! There is lots of humour as a bunch of misfits come together and turn a broadsheet paper into a million copy selling tabloid.
Act two is much, much darker as Lamb's ruthlessness to meet the target knows no bounds. At times the actions taken are heart stopping and also very prophetic as to where the press, and in particular The Sun, have gone since.
This was an incredibly strong play and my two complaints about it are personal to me. I am a printer's daughter and knowing what Murdoch did to the print trade in the 1980s it was very disconcerting to feel any sympathy for him while watching the play. Secondly I am also very much pro-union and seeing them in a less than favourable light was again not a comfortable watch!
As I said criticisms very personal to me and this was a brilliant play. It left me wanting to know more and I was very pleased to see a list of references in the programme so I can find out more!