“Lord”, it’s a word and a title with undoubtedly strong associations. Of power, of reverence, of subservience, of devotion. But placed on the head of a paranoid schizophrenic, heir to an Earldom? It’s enough to strike terror, inspire delirious laughter, and shake up the lives of everyone who must bow to him…

Peter Barnes 1968 play The Ruling Class, famously featuring the arresting performance of Peter O’Toole, was a subversive cultural landmark of the late 1960s stage and later, screen. It’s “sledgehammer satire” (Newsweek, 1972) took aim at British peerage, politics, public-schooling and our faith in the ‘powers that be’. Fifty years on surely, it must be antiquated, because we’ve sorted all that inequality stuff out since then, haven’t we?


This review can be read in full on the blog of Mark Aspen Reviews.


Image credit: Sarah J. Carter



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