Thief stole the top award at the Brighton Fringe and stormed the Edinburgh Festival. It makes its premiere at the Lost Theatre on Saturday night as part of its Face to Face Festival of Solo Theatre.
The critically acclaimed Thief is the hard-hitting new play from Liam Rudden – director of Killers, writer of Silence In Court and director of the award-winning Cock And Bull Story.
Sailor thrives in the bars, dives and doss-houses of only the most squalid ports.
He lives for robbery, imprisonment and expulsion. Sailor’s virtues are simple: rent, theft and betrayal.
Thief is a dark and disturbing piece of theatre. It’s not for the easily offended and contains nudity.
Said Rudden: “”Thief is inspired by the life and works of the playwright Jean Genet, but it is not his story.
“That said, those with a knowledge of him will spot the odd nod and a wink to his work.
“Thief tells the story of Sailor. A thief and male prostitute, who, by the age of 27, has learned how to survive in a brutal world.
“It’s a study of poverty and abuse and addresses such subjects as the transience of beauty. It’s also an emotional roller-coaster that, I guarantee will make you laugh, cry, and look away, as Sailor tells his all too human story.
“Jean Genet, his life and work, has always fascinated me, and is a key influence here – particularly his famous semi-autobiographical novel, The Thief’s Journal and R.W.Fassbinder’s movie adaptation of his 1947 novel Querelle de Brest.
“I liked his darkness, his subversion, and his twisted sense of humour – Genet turned society on its head.
“Although Sailor is entirely fictitious, I have drawn on real stories in creating him; some of them quite personal to me.
“Many years ago, an actor friend struggled to find work and was eventually drawn into life as a rent boy.
“He is no longer with us but he used to tell me stories about his experiences.
“I wanted to find a vehicle by which to give some voice to that life.
“I also once met a Eastern European escort who had managed to escape her pimp. She had some truly brutal tales to tell, and I have drawn inspiration from those.
“While Sailor is obviously a stylised male prostitute from back in the day, there are still people out there doing what he does now, living that life.
“That underworld is still there, it’s all around us, but, as a society, we ignore it, or perhaps we like to think it just doesn’t happen any more.
“It’s an uncomfortable truth. I wanted audiences to confront that truth, to feel it”.
Thief, starring Matt Robertson as Sailor, is at the Lost Theatre, Wandsworth Road, South London, on October 11 only.