If the idea of a Bedroom Tax was put forward a few decades ago people would have laughed their heads off, like at school when learning of the 17th Century Window Tax which gave rise to the phrase `daylight robbery'...
…But, unbelievably, the Bedroom Tax is here in the 21st Century causing real hardship to those least well off. It's not funny. But Liverpool's Dingle Community Theatre has made a farce out of a crisis, bringing back a bit of agit prop style theatre last seen in the doom laden days of the Thatcher era.
"I think the time is right for a resurgence of that kind of theatre, as there's a bit of a groundswell amongst ordinary people being politicised because of all these attacks on benefits and things and, obviously, the unemployment rate is horrendous" says Tom McLennan of Dingle Community Theatre who also stars in the production.
Bedroomed! is set in a household affected by the Tax but, far from being a dark experience, it's a comedy centred around the choices people have to make ends meet…
"People are coming to see a play – they don't want to be depressed by the issue so we are trying to make it a bit like an episode of a sit com where the main character gets hit by the Bedroom Tax" he explains "We don't want to do something that sends the audience back more depressed. It's positive and entertaining."
That the play is coming out of Liverpool is no co-incidence, as the first big demos in the country against the Bedroom Tax happened in scouse-land.
"I don't know why that is" Tom ponders "I think the Tax is disproportionately affecting a certain sector of the population, and especially in Liverpool people aren't inclined to lie down and take it without fighting back. The Bedroom Tax is having a go at poor people in the north and I think they've had enough."
Bedroomed! is on a north west tour and comes to The Black Lion pub on Chapel Street next Sunday. The night is set up as a kind of public meeting, with a cast member in the chair. The first half features the play, while the second half includes sketches, poems and songs with a Bedroom Tax theme.
If you want to have a laugh at the ConDem Government and its mad policies this could be some welcome relief.
Sunday 21st July 8pm £3/£2
Black Lion, Chapel Street M3 5BZ
0161 839 9882
Bedroomed! is also being staged in the area on Saturday 20th July at Moston Miners Club, 35 Teddington Road, Moston, Manchester M40 0DJ (0161 682-6253) 8pm £3/£2
Main photo shows the cast Tom Mclennan; Lydia Parsons; Amanda Lancaster; Jackie Connolly and Rebecca Johnson.