This powerful play looks at the destruction of middle-America's industry and the impact it had on communities and race relations during the early 2000s. A group of factory workers frequent their local bar to celebrate birthdays, let off steam and organise against the factory owners. But when one of them is promoted to supervisor and the factory owners try to cut wages and move manufaturing out to countries with cheaper labour, the tensions cause real division.
Although a basically American story, it has echoes of similar issues elsewhere, particularly, perhaps, in the UK. Industries that had been great for many decades, where working there meant a good wage and 'safe' job that you could get your children into as they gre up - these industries eventually collapsed. Wages had grown under the influence of the unions and protections prevented new working practices from being introduced. Ring any bells? Both sides in these disputes were (are!) to blame, two powerful factions going head to head with no one coming out the winner. "They're coming in here, undercutting us and taking our jobs" is still, sadly, a refrain in many countries and leads to a dangerous rise in right wing attitudes.
Great team acting give us a real sense of a community ripping itself apart with an end that reflects the reality that life moves on and leaves behind those who wont adapt. A clever set and fast paced direction makes for a great production - try not to sit too far back in the stalls or you will miss some of the projection - not critical but it does give context. At times the direct approach of this play requires information to be conveyed that makes some of the speeches become a bit like lectures, as there were no outsiders to explain too characters find themselves telling each other things they would already know.
A brilliant production, very glad we had the chance to see it.