Redgrave Theatre Bristol
Friday 14th February 2014

Written by Shaun McCarthy

Directed by Amanda Horlock

Following a week of research and development, the Hooligans invite you to a script in hand reading of a new play.

Meet Alf - charismatic, ruthless leader of the Victorian equivalent of a Lambeth street gang fighting their ‘post code wars’ against all comers. Alf will introduce you to Billy the Snide, Jimmy the Fence, Maggots, to the girls of Lambeth who can send a man into a swoon in the back rows of the music hall with a sniff of the drugged roses they sell. The hooligans’ drugs of choice are strong beer and gin, their weapons clubs, blades and revolvers, their music the bawdy songs of Canterbury Music hall.

Infuriated right wing commentators may fume about violent street gangsters terrorising city streets today, but the exploits of Alf and his hooligan gang shows that for those born without opportunity onto tough streets, the Victorian hooligan’s delight in living on the ‘crooked way’ and today’s gangster lifestyle are really not so different.

The Hooligan Nights is based on events recorded in a little-known book of the same name published in 1901, written by a man, Clarence Rook, whose identity is also shrouded in mystery. What does just peek from the shadows of that vanished, violent, intoxicating world, is that Rook and Alf may dangerously have loved the same Lambeth girl.