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"Don't let the bastards grind you down" is the motto of the working-class anti-hero Arthur Seaton in Alan Sillitoe's bestseller Saturday Night And Sunday Morning.
Seaton is a true rebel without a cause. He is anti-Establishment, anti-taxes - and anti-trade union.
In fact, he is against everything. For him life is about boozing, screwing and dying. Nothing else matters.
Sillitoe's novel shocked and enthralled the public when it hit the streets in 1958 and Albert Finney memorably cemented the image of the protagonist in the public mind in Karl Reisz's hugely successful film.
Yet the success of the book and film isn't really replicated on stage in this adaptation by Matthew Dunster, who also directs.
It doesn't resolve two challenges - the episodic nature of the book and the fact that the action is very specifically confined to the late 1950s and as such is very much of its time.
Dunster has made a reasonable stab at a convincing production, though he ignores the overt misogyny of the original in which Seaton's treatment of women is simplistic and brutal.
"Screw them or hit them" appears to be his philosophy and more than half a century later it would have been interesting to see a director try to address this flaw in Seaton's character. To dismiss it as being "of its time" is not really good enough.
But there are some engaging performances.
Perry Fitzpatrick, who has a difficult job matching up to Finney's portrayal, does grow into the role and displays some of the vulnerability lying beneath Seaton's bravado.
There is excellent support from Clare Calbraith as Brenda, the married woman he gets pregnant.
In a long, sad and painful scene she endures the horror of a steaming hot bath while downing a pint of gin in an attempt to induce a miscarriage.
Played in near silence, but for a ticking clock, her pain is almost mentally and physically palpable.
An exceptional moment, but overall Dunster shows too much reverence to Sillitoe's original, where a bolder interpretation would have been more compelling.
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