The Guildford 4 were wrongfully convicted for the Guildford Pub Bombings in 1974. It wasn’t until 15 years later that they were released. Based on the letters Paul Hill sent to his mother during his 15 years in prison, Martin McNamara’s script looks into the injustices that these men suffered. But the brilliance of this piece comes from the subtle hints that such injustices didn’t just happen in the 70s, but are still happening now.
The play takes the form of direct address storytelling. There are two actors: one playing Max Hill and one playing
everyone else. The story covers everything from the arrest, Max Hill’s time in prison up to his eventual release. Steven McCluster plays Max Hill and gives a gentle, subtle performance that sits beautifully in the space. James Elms plays, the antagonists: the police, the prison guards the judges. Half Johnny Rotten, half Johnny Depp: he minces around the stage with punk abandon. These two performances create a compelling juxtaposition on stage.
Max Hill has gotten himself into the world where he doesn’t belong, so Steven McCluster’s subtle performance
seeming out of place is a master stroke. Constantly we are told about how the men were forced to sign a confession, due to being beaten or the threatening of their loved ones. All this was made possible thanks to new anti terrorism legislation. the play doesn’t give any obvious links, or make it too obvious, but it trusts its audience to make the links themselves. This play could quite easily have been a very dry, political affair. It actually feels somewhat like a children’s play, in a good way – lots of action, characters, radio broadcasts & props. It all moves along at such a pace that you never get lost in any kind of political point scoring. But this is how the play earns its spot on Underbelly Cowgate.
Your Ever Loving is playing at Underbelly until August 20. For more information and tickets, go to https://tickets.edfringe.com/whats-on/your-ever-loving