SUS ★★★ Park Theatre | Sep 21 - Oct 15, 2022

The late Barrie Keeffe is best known for his classic gangster film, The Long Good Friday. In SUS from 1979 he examines the interplay of politics and policing, and exposes the abuse of the "suspect under suspicion" or "Stop and Search" provision of the criminal code. On the night that Margaret Thatcher is achieving a landslide victory at the polls, Delroy, a young black man is brought to the police station on the belief that he has murdered his wife. While the situation starts with almost playful banter, there are dark undertones to his interrogation that turn to racist abuse and violence. Stedroy Cabey convincingly portrays the trajectory of an initially self-assured Delroy who only gradually realises the dangerous situation he is in. We see him visibly recognise that he is being set up and his confidence crumbles. As the two police inquisitors, who are determined to wring a confession from their suspect, Alexander Neal and Fergal Coghlan are palpably venal and inhuman. Perhaps, because of what we too often read about such cases in the newspapers, the arc of the narrative is predictable and the injustice done to Delroy is horrifying but not surprising. This early work by Barrie Keeffe is a powerful indictment of corrupt policing supported by a political climate that divides and scapegoats.

Rated: ★★★

Reviewed by J.C.
Photo by Charles Russel.

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