Kings Theatre: Thief brings award-winning, hard hitting drama to Kirkcaldy venue

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Theatre came to the stage of the Kings Theatre this week - and was a huge success.

The Collie’s Shed played to a full house as it recalled the divides and legacy of the miners’ strike of 1984-85, with many former pitmen and their families in the audience.

It was the Esplanade’s first venture into staging theatre, and a second hard-hitting drama follows with the award-winning Thief taking to the stage on Friday, May 31. Tickets from the Kings at www.kingstheatrekirkcaldy.com/events

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It’s a unique, intimate setting for Liam Rudden’s critically acclaimed play which is now celebrating its tenth anniversary.

Thief comes to the Kings Theatre stage this month (Pic: Liam Rudden Media)Thief comes to the Kings Theatre stage this month (Pic: Liam Rudden Media)
Thief comes to the Kings Theatre stage this month (Pic: Liam Rudden Media)

Billed as “dark, challenging and not for the easily offended” it was premiered at the Brighton Fringe in 2014, where it won the ‘Best Theatrical Performance’ award, and made an award-winning appearance on New York’s Broadway, before returning to London.

Thief was inspired by the vagabond playwright Jean Genet, and has been hailed by critics as “sensational... ferocious... acted with great intensity. A memorable hour of theatre." – and one said: “Well written and beautifully performed by a Scottish Genet sailor, and enough nudity to cheer up the darkest wet stormy night.”

Acclaimed actor Lee Fanning - who has appeared in Neds, Contagion, Under The Skin, and The Angel’s Share - returns to the role of Sailor for the Kings’ performance.

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Liam said: “Thief is a study of abuse. A exploration of how society creates its own monsters and then hides from its complicity. It also challenges the audiences to think about the transience of beauty. It's an emotional roller-coaster that will make you laugh, cry, and look away, as Sailor tells his all-too-human story. It's about one man’s humanity.

“I wanted to get inside the head of a character that people will have preconceptions about... and to then twist those preconceptions, allowing Sailor into their heads. His world is a wonderfully dark place, where there are no rules. I like working in the landscape.”

He admits it wasn’t easy to write - “nor is it necessarily easy to watch” – and added: “Thief is the story of Sailor, a victim who refuses to see himself as that, a man who fights back. Sailor has been abused all his life. At 36 , he is now in control of the circumstances that created the 'monster' he has become. At least, that's what he believes.

"Sailor is a man struggling to maintain his humanity and self-respect, while doing what it takes to survive the brutal underworld of civilised society. His ethos of subverting accepted moral behaviour and self-expression is drawn loosely from the works and life of Jean Genet.

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"Set in a timeless world of dockside taverns and the cobbled shadow-lands of foggy ports, the story charts one man's survival. A squalid survival some find themselves embracing even now, as much as society would like to deny that is the case. Importantly, however, Thief has no message. It's there to provoke thought and discussion and hopefully, entertain, albeit on an extremely dark level.”

Thief’s performance at the Kings will help to underpin its bid to bring more theatre to a venue which has established itself as a superb live venue as well as hosting comedy, cabaret and panto. The cast of The Collie’s Shed used the entire room to superb effect, bursting in through the side doors to bring the drama direct to the audience - many of whom were in the venue for the very first time.

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