Previewed 1 September 1999, Opened 6 September 1999, Closed 9 October 1999 at the Ambassadors Theatre in London
Out of Joint present's Simon Bennett's new play Drummer in London for a strictly limited season, following an acclaimed run at the Edinburgh Festival
Ray was stiched up and now he's out of jail, he's out to settle the score. Whatever it takes. In this darkly comic story of burglary, double-dealing and brotherly hate, there is no honour amongst thieves.
The cast features Callum Dixon as 'Barry', Paul Ritter as 'Pete' and Peter Sullivan as 'Ray' with Ewan Hooper and Maggie McCarthy. Directed by Max Stafford-Clark with designs by Nathalie Gibbs, lighting by Johanna Town and sound by John Harris. This production was originally scheduled to preview from 12 October 1999, open on 14 October 1999 and close on 20 November 1999 - but it was swapped around with Some Explicit Polaroids.
"A dark and funny new play, the first by Simon Bennett. 'Drum' is slang for house, 'drummer' for house-breaker, and the particular interest of Drummers is that this tale of burglary and criminal families comes to us with inside understanding; when he was only 20, Bennett served a two year sentence in prison. The play's most striking virtue - Bennet's handling of the south London (Souf Lunnon) accent/dilect at its most pronounced is also its occasional problem; you work so hard to keep up that sometimes important aspect's of the characters' histories flash by without your being able to absorb them. Another problem for the regular theatre-goer is that Drummers, developed and directed by Max Stafford-Clark for Out of Joint, feels less like a young author's new play than like Stafford-Clark's latest production. In particular it feels like a sequel to Mark Ravenhill's Shopping and F***ing (London; thieving; drugs; on-stage buggery). But Drurnmers is actually a slightly better play: it rounds its characters, makes a coherent on-stage world, never over-indulges its own feeling for surface style. Its story of revenge sometimes makes it feel like The Count of Monte Cristo for today." The Financial Times
"Many plays have the authentic, inside feel that can come only from direct experience. We wouldn't have The Kitchen if Arnold Wesker hadn't worked as a cook, or The Changing Room if David Storey hadn't played professional rugby, or Journey's End if R.C.Sherriff hadn't sat with a rifle in a trench waiting to go over the top. But Drummers, which Out of Joint has just brought to the Traverse, is the first play I've seen which makes me feel what it's like to steal jewellery from a house, bargain with a fence, be cheated by a partner-in-crime, and end up trusting nobody, not even your own kith and kin. Simon Bennett started creative writing while serving a sentence for breaking and entering; and if he was as skilful a burglar as he already is a dramatist, I can only thank God he never came near my "drum", as nice homes are known in the trade. You could, I suppose, find antecedents for Drummers in David Mamet's American Buffalo or Jez Butterworth's Mojo or Harold Pinter's Dumb Waiter; but when it comes to combining criminal knowhow with cracking dialogue, and comic observation with a sense of darkness, the play's voice is an original one." The Times
Drummers in London at the Ambassadors Theatre previewed from 1 September 1999, opened on 6 September 1999 and closed on 9 October 1999