You wait ages for one production of Barbarians and then two come along at once. This staging, by JMK Award winner Liz Stevenson, follows Tooting Arts Club’s recent revival of its 2012 version of the play.
Barrie Keeffe’s late 70s depiction of a Britain as a scrapheap of empty promises for the young strongly resonates today. Three linked plays explore a society that has closed its gates on mates Jan, Paul and Louis.
It takes Stevenson a while to find the roar of Keeffe’s scabrously, blackly funny dialogue. But when she does, it’s powerful – capturing jittery, directionless lives. Fly Davis’s split-level, chipboard set makes full use of the Young Vic’s Clare studio. It’s aptly bleak, a traverse arena for Paul (Brian Vernel) to hurl himself around.