Wide screen devices may view this page better by clicking here

14 July 2021

Facebook   Twitter

Join the Socialist Party Join us today!

Printable version Printable version

Facebook   Twitter

Theatre review

Farewell Leicester Square - the story of Britain's first black bus driver

Farewell Leicester Square

Farewell Leicester Square   (Click to enlarge)

Mary Finch, Waltham Forest Socialist Party

Farewell Leicester Square tells the story of Joe Clough - Britain's first black bus driver. It opens in Jamaica, where Joe was born and began his career as a driver working on horse-drawn carriages.

The upbeat tone of the play is set immediately as we follow Joe's mischievous childhood in Jamaica. His job led him to England when his posh employer, Dr White, moved there in 1903. Dr White does his best to prepare Joe for the cold weather and cobbly roads, but there is an endearing culture shock on his arrival in England.

He immediately falls head over heels when he meets his lively future wife, Margaret, at a public house in London. Phillip Olagoke, the play's only actor, seamlessly transitions between all three characters.

Joe was not only accepted but was enormously popular in the local working class community in Bedford. He was sacked from driving the Number 11 bus on spurious charges, motivated by racism from the bosses. But the other bus drivers rallied around him to get him reinstated.

Unable to fight as an active serviceman in World War One, Joe instead signed up to drive ambulances. This section of his life probably only takes up 15 minutes in the hour-long play, but it's profound and deeply affecting. A badly injured soldier in Joe's ambulance reaches out to touch his skin for 'good luck', and Joe reaches back and holds his face in an attempt to lift his spirits.

Joe's racial identity and experiences of racism are an important part of his story, but he isn't defined by them. His incredible life, vibrant personality, and the joy he found in driving shine through in the writing and a fantastic lead performance.

Farewell Leicester Square is funny, at times very sad, thoroughly enjoyable and well worth seeing.

Donate to the Socialist Party

Finance appeal

The coronavirus crisis has laid bare the class character of society in numerous ways. It is making clear to many that it is the working class that keeps society running, not the CEOs of major corporations.

The results of austerity have been graphically demonstrated as public services strain to cope with the crisis.

The government has now ripped up its 'austerity' mantra and turned to policies that not long ago were denounced as socialist. But after the corona crisis, it will try to make the working class pay for it, by trying to claw back what has been given.

Inevitably, during the crisis we have not been able to sell the Socialist and raise funds in the ways we normally would.

We therefore urgently appeal to all our viewers to click here to donate to our Fighting Fund.

Please donate here.

All payments are made through a secure server.

My donation


Your message: 


In The Socialist 14 July 2021:


NHS: Kick out the privatisers - Fight for a 15% Pay rise

Scrap the privatising health and care bill

Tories threaten to axe free prescriptions for older workers


We cannot trust this government over Covid: Fight for a new workers' party

Trade unions must continue the fight for Covid safety


Pride is protest - Build a mass movement for LGBTQ+ liberation and socialism

LGBTQ+ workers' charter

Workplace news

Dagenham school workers strike against 'fire and rehire' pay cuts

St Mungo's strikers end 12-week strike

Telecoms workers angry at CWU deal with BT

GKN Birmingham workers rally against plant closure

Brush workers into eighth week of strike

Workplace round-up


New wave of radicalisation in Latin America

Putting the Olympic gravy train ahead of public health

Kazakhstan: Solidarity with protesters attacked by regime forces


Keep the Universal Credit uplift

Defend the triple lock - Fight to end poverty pensions

Wealth chasm widens

Right-wing study concludes youth like socialism


Youth Fight for Jobs is back

We need councillors who will end housing crisis - vote TUSC in Staines on 22 July

Stop Pimlico gentrification

Why I joined the Socialist Party

Everyone can spot Socialist Party in Stoke

Socialist Party meetings say: We're ready to go out and campaign

Readers' opinion

England football team

Farewell Leicester Square - the story of Britain's first black bus driver

Readers' comments


Home   |   The Socialist 14 July 2021   |   Join the Socialist Party

Subscribe   |   Donate   |   Audio  |   PDF  |   ebook

Related links:

Article dated 14 July 2021

Join the Socialist Party
Subscribe to Socialist Party publications
Donate to the Socialist Party


Pay in Fighting Fund

Pay in paper and book sales


Bulk book orders

New member submission


triangle3 Aug Caerphilly and RCT Socialist Party: The future of work - for who's benefit, workers or bosses?

triangle4 Aug Hackney & Islington Socialist Party: Building the membership of the Socialist Party

triangle5 Aug Waltham Forest Socialist Party: Flooding, homelessness, cuts... Walthamstow needs a re-set - what's the socialist plan?


The Socialist, weekly newspaper of the Socialist Party

Subscribespacer|spacerebook / Kindlespacer|spacerPDF versionspacer|spacerText / Printspacer|spacer1143 onlinespacer|spacerBack issuesspacer|spacer Audio files

'The Struggle for World Socialism' book launch

More videos ...

What We Stand For
Socialist Party Facebook page
Socialist Party on Twitter
Visit us on Youtube

Platform setting: =

Desktop version