The Liberty Tree is The Wizard of Oz gone Agitprop – derived from agitation and propaganda, it’s stage plays, pamphlets, motion pictures and other art forms with an explicitly political message. In the current climate of austerity, dwindling government resources and welfare state The Liberty Tree embraces political activism wholeheartedly aspiring to educate and motivate young professionals. It is a large-scale community musical performed by a company made of students and young activists.
Rosa works in a call centre. The manager, the incarnation of middle management bully, monitors and regulates even the bathroom breaks of the overworked employees. A fellow worker, Joe, reacts and is fired with a charade of due process. Rosa tormented by her own cowardice and passiveness, falls asleep, only to wake up trapped in the nightmarish Land Of Do What You Are Told – the land of the meek, servile and tame – that follow unquestionably the 6 noble lies the Troika – the amoral triumvirate of rulers – feeds them. Her only chance to escape is to set on a journey to find The Liberty Tree. What happens then, when the sheep unite against the shepherd?
Using the realm of dreams, the production is both comedic and pointedly true. It is definitely not subtle or particularly inventive in its message – the puns and the analogies drawn obvious and simple – but it highlights uncomfortable truths about labour conditions, policies and civic education.
What carries the performance forward is the contagious energy of the cast. Passionate and sassy, despite the occasional technical glitches or discordant singing, they make any complaints forgivable.
- Written and directed by Chris Jury
- Choreographers: Jess Chamberlin, Nicola Robinson – Smith and Cate Olivia
- Featuring Captain Sing and The Celtic Soul Band
- Cast includes: Hannah Squires, Tito Ogedengbe, Jim Lavender, Jessica Sterling, Catrin Young, Sinead Doherty, Chloe Gardiner and Joshua Lowe
- Cockpit Theatre, London
- Until 27 June 2015
- Review by Katerina Yannouli
- 26 June 2015