"If I was French, it would be simple; I'd commit crime passionel in a riot of garlic and vin ordinaire. And if I was German, I'd invoke the phantom of the Fuhrer and get hacking. In America, the husband generally shoots the family first, then takes a dozen high-powered rifles up some bell tower and blasts away at the town. But I knew the English way was the only way, God help me. You make a bloody great speech - and then you have a stiff drink.”
Like Pinner's contemporaneous 1973 Stalin play The Teddy Bears' Picnic, Oh, To Be In England was unproduceable at the time of its writing because of its unapologetic skewering of political extremism in the UK. Unlike The Teddy Bears' Picnic, which finally ran in 1990 to press acclaim, Oh, To Be In England has remained lost. After thirty-five years, it is now receiving its world premiere.
Frighteningly prescient, and tragically current, Oh, To Be In England is a dark comedic examination what it means to live in an ex-empire in economic free-fall, and the political and personal extremism that results when all other belief is lost. A middle-aged Englishman, bred to believe in his innate superiority as a birthright of class, race, and gender, loses his job in the City. Left floundering impotently in a world that is no longer cricket, his family, security, and sanity follow close behind.