There is a housing crisis in this country. And it’s something that is not discussed enough in the mainstream media.
Those who may be haunted by previous experiences of being trapped in a room with politicos armed with musical instruments need not fear
Wel, how about this then? Not just discussion, but action too. Plus an inclusive approach to theatre. Throwing cliché to the wind, here is theatre by the people, for the people. Pay what you can and join in. There are drinks and snacks too.
You Should See The Other Guy are a feminist theatre company made up of housing activists from the Focus E15 Campaign.
Land of the Three Towers Vol II follows on from the story of the Focus E15 Occupation of four empty flats on the Carpenter’s Estate in Stratford, an action which served to call Newham Council up on the scandal of leaving decent homes on the estate empty for years. The aim of this production was a celebratory performance unpicking the causes and effect of what the group insist is social cleansing of parts of London – one was told by an official that "if you can’t afford to live in Newham, you can’t afford to live in Newham" – and importantly how this can be resisted. There was also a focus on those on "the arse end" of austerity.
Those who may be haunted by previous experiences of being trapped in a room with politicos armed with musical instruments need not fear. These women are talented: the music, songs, poetry and puppet (sock, yes, sock) performances are high quality, excellently performed. There are powerful and poignant messages, yes. But it's also fun – so much fun. The cookery demonstration on how to make Eviction Resistance soup with impersonations of celebratory chefs was just one example.
Perhaps there was a slight slip off topic with a short scene about the sinister machinations of an Employment and Support Allowance capability assessment; an examination of the labyrinthine welfare system and its ‘reform’ warrants its own set of productions, for sure. Further, in terms of the housing crisis, there was no discussion of the increasing numbers of people in the unregulated private sector where exorbitant rents and crippling agents’ fees create great instability.
But to be fair that was not their remit. There are more discussions to be had about the catastrophe surrounding housing, which is after all a most basic need, and the action that should be taken. If anyone can give inspiration as to how that might be done differently You Should See The Other Guy are the women to watch.