Chicken Soup with Barley

Theatre, West End
© Johan Persson Chicken Soup With Barley
Dominic Cooke's subtle, inspirational revival of Arnold Wesker's communist kitchen sink drama is food for the soul. Passionate conviction, not sex or violence, is Wesker's driving theme in this three-act portrait of an East End Jewish family and their comrades.The drama opens, headily, in 1936 with the Battle of Cable Street and ends in 1956 with the USSR's demolition of the Hungarian Revolution. Wesker has a unique perception of the way these seismic events tenderise and abruptly alter the rhythm of lives lived close together in a little room. His enduring image of our own conflict between communism and fascism is dauntless mother Sarah Kahn (Samantha Spiro), dashing out of her tiny flat to bash Mosley's Blackshirts with a rolling pin. Danny Webb is equally moving as husband Harry, evading his wife's forceful love as persistently as the jobs he's always losing.


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