Brecht’s Gangster Show

Season 23


Director: Han Duijvendak

Writer: Bertolt Brecht; trans George Tabori

Designer: Karl Furre

Music: Paddy Cunneen


9th October – 15th November




John Atholl


Oliver Beamish


Jonathan Coyne


Paddy Cunneen


Nick Edmett


Andy Hampton

Young Dogsborough/Fish

Rob Jarvis

Butch/Defence Counsel

Chris Macdonnell

Arturo Ui

Fidelis Morgan


Philip Rham


Raymond Sergeant


Michael Starke

Dockdaisy/Woman/Mrs Dullfeet

Mandy Tarvis


James Vaughan


Christopher Webber

Reviews and Quotes

"How to do the play?: As a subtle (?) pointer to today’s situation I want to cast the central character Ui as a woman, without changing anything else “gender-wise”; in other words, Ui will be played by an actress in drag. Secondly, I won’t be setting the play specifically in Chicago (no American accents!), but more generally in an inner city with docks – which could be Liverpool. Everything about the production will have a “heightened” quality…This means high energy, fast “BOB Hewis-type stratospheric” up-front acting, which establishes a very direct contact with the audience…Music should be stark and cartoonesque. Designs should be larger than life, heightened realism, like opera sets in scale and impact but with inner city, hard-edged texture and appearance."
- Han Duijvendak, Director

"The design concept is enthralling and intelligent, a rare example of designer, director and acting style working together. A raked thrust staged is flanked by two podiums from which the jazz is played or spectators observe the court scenes. Either side of these huge splatters of grubby whitewash on the cyclorama serve as projection screens for the scene titles. The set is doubled with abstract swathes in rotting vegetable colours, like a Braque painting, and edged with cauliflowers."
- Charlotte Keatley, Financial Times, 11/10/86

"When the music for the show had been worked out, Han D and I decided to run a pre-show in the foyer prior to curtain up. This consisted of the whole cast, with saxes, trumpets, drums and guitar playing 5 or 6 songs from the period. This was all chaotically fronted by Renos Leonardis, Mickey Starke and Jack Vaughan as crooning roughish gangsters. It was a great way of greeting and roughhousing the audience out of the wet Liverpool evenings by ushering them into the mania of the 1930s…the audience absolutely loved the mayhem of it."
- Paddy Cunneen, Musical Director