This frenetic American drama was composed in the immediate post-war period. It focuses on corruption in the unionised workforce on the docks in New York. Instead of being a conventional play, the script is intended to be shown on the screen, but it originally ran into trouble with the authorities because of its overtly political content.
The production in question is on show in a Liverpool theatre. The docks in the city might not be as important economically as they once were, but the lack of regulation of the local labour market make it an ideal place to witness the gritty drama.
The pace never slackens and there are numerous plot twists. The narrative shows how hard it is to translate growing class consciousness into genuine working class power. During the performance it is hard not to be affected by the suspense, but afterwards it makes you think of the vagaries of the Labour leadership campaign. One question has been asked by the candidacy of Jeremy Corbyn- is the bureaucratic and stalled Labour Party ready to become a social movement once again?