The mid-80s. Four bright Oxford students set up a radical group which is commandeered by New Labour to become an 'alternative think-tank'. As the years go by, its initially idealistic members start pursuing their own goals. One joins the World Bank, one makes a fortune as an Internet pioneer; one becomes an MP...One, always the most uncompromising, goes to help the Palestinian cause and gets killed at Nablus. 'You know how you never see a tyre warehouse until you get a flat tyre...I went home to my parents, went for a walk out the back, past the old hospital, hardly noticed it before and now, now it's gone, sold off, there's three-storey flats with underground garages there, private park...' The Unthinkable is a play about 'not noticing'; not noticing that one's ideals have become warped; not noticing that being active in party politics is different from being engaged in political activity; not noticing that amassing a personal fortune and professing socialism might be a contradiction in terms; and not noticing that New Labour is not really about socialism at all.
The Unthinkable premieres at the Sheffield Crucible Theatre produced by Michael Grandage - now also running the acclaimed Donmar Warehouse - and directed by Josie Rourke, Artistic Associate of the Royal Court Theatre. It is Steve Waters' follow-up to his breakthrough play, World Music, which The Times called 'explosive...urgent and essential viewing' Times