Thoughts of a racist and inarticulate football fan

Ant and Tony share a name - Antony - but not much else. Ant is a disaffected England supporter from Chingford. He rejects a multicultural society and sees matches as a chance for violence. Sometimes he does not even get to the match. Tony is black, articulate, successful and at his first football match. Crowd trouble causes them to be locked up in a Wembley holding pen together, supervised by a young policewoman.

The interaction between the male characters is fairly predictable, with Tony given the opportunity to let Ant in on some historical and social facts he would rather not hear. But the passages where characters address the audience directly, are storytelling at its best.

Tony describes his love of cars and how policemen stop him for "DWB", driving while black. Willan Ferguson gives a riveting performance, successfully changing character to recount the experiences of his slave ancestors.

Jonathan Salt has a more difficult task. Ant's history is less exotic and his attitudes, of course, unsympathetic to the point of caricature. Everything - including his character and articulacy - is weighed against him. It would be good to have more about his home life, where violence is endemic and his prospects few, to provide more explanation for his behaviour.

Lynda Norris makes a credible policewoman: an authority figure, inwardly quailing at the prospect of verbal abuse from the men.

My England is firmly in the tradition of issue-based theatre-in-education: characters are less important than message, about which there is no ambiguity. But the message is important and the audience is left with plenty to think about The lighting, incidentally, is well handled by Marcus Batham who is awaiting his GCSE results and is a former pupil of Mr Salt's.

My England, by Clifford Oliver is at the Pleasance Upstairs. Tickets: 0131 556 6550

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