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By Theodore Shank (eds.)

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The beauty of the marine depths is paralleled with the aesthetics of slaughter. This is the site of fascism and psychologically very shrewd, but Berkoff's blank verse is too dog-trot a medium to explore the complexity, and the play switches, with relief, to the cartoon-comedy of the War Cabinet. Mrs. Thatcher, as we have seen, had her own agenda for classical theatre and Berkoff's collage could only be a feeble imitation of it. Berkoff's most intelligent reading to date of a classical text has The Languages of Theatre in Britain Today 27 been his production of Salome for the National Theatre in 1989.

The Thatcher Government's bias towards finance capital and against industrial capital, and towards the centralised control of all local finance, underpinned, at the policy level, these symbolic shifts. Shakespeare is a political conservative, but in play after play he warns against autocracy. Henry Vis the ideal king because he can talk man-to-man with the common soldier as well as leading from the front in wartime and squashing aristocratic cabals. Menenius has as much contempt for the common people and their tribunes as Coriolanus.

In an earlier scene, in the vaults of the newly-created Bank of England, Barker has anticipated the conspiratorial corruption of the banking fraternity which is now so publicly exposed when he creates a group of builders and traders who are hugging the nations gold against monarchists and republicans alike. The title of Brenton and Ali's play, Moscow Gold, comes alive in this play. The register shifts between past and present in a brilliant cameo of greed and economics: MOBBERLEY (dragging some gold bars on a small trolley) Got a bit of England, sir!

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