Doing Time - The Last Ballad Of Reading Gaol

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AD20140313

A spine-chilling serial murderer, a controversial biscuit, a grand piano and a lesson in the art of a good hanging - Mike Walker's unsettling drama, made to mark the closure of Reading Gaol after 170 years, shows there's more to its story than Oscar Wilde's famous Ballad.

The play is a shocking reminder of the lengths society will go to in the name of justice - a fearful mixture of soul crushing isolation and the physical punishment of hard labour.

Oscar is on hand to give us some typically Wildean analysis. There are more Irish elements, too - republicans offering some rousing and organised resistance to the gaol's stark regime.

There's a visitation from the Ogress of Reading, a miscarriage of justice and, perhaps most shocking of all, we hear from one of the many children locked up for the kind of petty crime which is born mostly of poverty.

And, as Reading gaol's very last prisoner prepares for life on the outside - have things moved on?

Directed by Duncan McLarty.