Fiercely political yet highly entertaining show in town

The Ragged Trousered Philanthropists
The Ragged Trousered Philanthropists

A stage adaptation of Robert Tressell’s novel The Ragged Trousered Philanthropists is coming to Leighton Buzzard later this month.

The play by Stephen Lowe and directed by Louise Townsend will show at Leighton Buzzard Library Theatre on Friday, September 25, and Saturday, September 26.

The Ragged Trousered Philanthropists follows a year in the life of a group of painters and decorators as they renovate a town house for Mayor Sweater, struggling for survival in an Edwardian England.

The political play features a cast of two playing multiple roles, with songs arranged by notable folk musician John Kirkpatrick.

Lowe’s version of the story was first seen back in 1978. Alongside plays, Lowe has worked on several BBC2 dramas, and has written over 100 episodes of Coronation Street.

Starring in the play are Neil Gore (Song of Singapore) and Jonathan Markwood (Return to the Forbidden Planet).

The acclaimed production is the first of two political plays that will go on to show at the Bussey Building in October and November.

The second production, United We Stand, will run from November 2 to 14. It tells the story of the controversial Shrewsbury 24 and the imprisonment of two men.

Lowe said of his adaptation: “I’ve seen many productions [of the story] from Alabama to Perth, Cape Town to Nottingham, and each time performers and audiences alike have felt the piece to be totally relevant and ‘of the time’.”

Speaking of its relevance to today’s society, Lowe said it “speaks out to the present economic and political reality in a clear, uncompromising but hugely entertaining way, through the energetic and brilliant performances of the two performers and storytellers”.

Doors open at 7.30pm.

Tickets are on sale now at £12 for adults and £5 for under 16s, and can be purchased by calling the box office on 0300 300 8125.