Policing under scrutiny in 'hard-hitting' new play True Horror by Codicote author Johnny Tait

The three cast members of new play True Horror

True Horror can be seen at Welwyn Civic Centre before it plays in London's West End in January, 2022. - Credit: Supplied by Johnny Tait

Misogyny in the police force is under the microscope like never before and what’s being revealed does not make comfortable viewing.

And so perhaps it’s no surprise that this is not a modern problem, but one which stretches back decades into the 20th century.

A new play by award-winning Codicote author Johnny Tait explores just this issue through the eyes of an old fashioned copper, who retired from service in 1962.

“Those were the days when women in the police force were rare and looked down upon and attitudes to women in general were suspect compared to today’s modern views,” said Johnny.

“But nonetheless, it’s an important time and I felt these attitudes needed to be explored which is why the theme is central to my new play.”

True Horror is a three-hander – two women and a man – with interwoven stories which are not for the faint-hearted, to say the least.

Tait has cleverly adapted his book Conscience into a festival-length play which blends fact and fiction of the characters’ three stories into a hellish concerto of fear and regret.

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It’s very fitting that its opening performance will be on Halloween – Sunday, October 31 – at Welwyn Civic Centre before transferring to the West End Leicester Square Theatre in January next year.

Tony Harris plays Fairfax, a retired police officer who was involved in one of the last century’s most controversial criminal convictions – the hanging of Derek Bentley.

Tony works as a stand-up comedian on the same club circuit as author Tait but has an acting pedigree which includes a season at the Royal Shakespeare Company in Stratford-upon-Avon.

He is joined on stage by Juliet Strange, who has performed and trained from a young age, including work at the Hampstead Theatre, Centre Stage and Actors’ Studio, and Jess Ivy, who trained as a ballet dancer before going through the ranks in Latin and ballroom. She is a graduate from the Drama Studio in London.

Juliet plays the character of Helen, haunted by her sexual repression, and Jess plays a schoolgirl character whose life is dominated by the need for climate change awareness.

Both are fictional characters but firmly rooted in real life.

Johnny added: “This isn’t a worthy piece. I am not trying to score any political points but it is hard-hitting and will make people think.

"Because of its length, I’m hoping that the messages and twists revealed in the plot will stay with people for some time."

Welwyn tickets are £10 and are available online at https://buytickets.at/taitproductions/510133 

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