Saturday, 13 February 2016

Any Means Necessary - Nottingham Playhouse

 After a break for panto over the Christmas period, Nottingham Playhouse is continuing its "Conspiracy Season" with Any Means Necessary - a tale of state-sponsored betrayal which takes as its starting point the real life case of an undercover policeman who worked his way into the life and affections of a committed activist. Playwright Kefi Chadwick has built a dramatic, compelling story around these totally underhand tactics.
Mel meets Dave at a protest, they're attracted, he convinces her that although he's newly into activism he's as committed as she is. Their tastes in music and hobbies seem to mesh perfectly and before long they move in together - but while for her this is a real relationship based on shared love and respect, for him this is just part of his day's work, trying to work his way into the heart of the protest movement. It seems like the stuff of spy novels, but it's based firmly on fact.
I expected to be angered - and I was. I didn't expect to find it funny, which it occasionally is, and I didn't expect to find any sympathy for undercover cop Dave, but I did. It's easy to feel sympathetic towards the women who were exploited but for me one of the strong points about Chadwick's story was showing both sides of the argument; how by going undercover Dave put his 'real' life on hold and risked losing his wife and family, found himself torn between the two halves of is life, but whenever he had doubts about continuing his assignment was manipulated by his boss with false praise about the national importance of his work.


Don't be put off Any Means Necessary thinking it's dull, dry politics. As a play exploring just what lengths under-cover police work might go to, it's bound to be political and thought-provoking, but it's above all a good story, well told, occasionally funny, and excellently performed.


Previously in the Conspiracy Season - The Rubenstein Kiss

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