Second Grenfell Tower inquiry play to put Eric Pickles in spotlight

1 month ago 21

A play dramatising the “merry-go-round of buck-passing” astatine the Grenfell Tower nationalist enquiry volition unfastened successful February, casting actors arsenic Eric Pickles, the erstwhile lodging secretary, and Hisam Choucair, who mislaid six members of his household successful the 2017 fire.

Grenfell: System Failure volition beryllium the sequel to a critically acclaimed verbatim play exploring the disastrous operation task that led to westbound London assembly artifact being clad successful integrative panels that burned similar petrol.

Lord Pickles, who stunned the bereaved erstwhile helium complained that questioning astatine the enquiry mightiness marque him precocious for his adjacent appointment, was accused of failing to tighten gathering regulations aft an earlier fire, contempt being instructed to bash truthful by a coroner.

Eric Pickles
Pickles giving grounds astatine the enquiry successful April. Photograph: YouTube

The play volition amusement him being cross-examined by Richard Millett KC, who closed the grounds sessions past period by saying that aft hearings implicit 4 years successful which antithetic companies, nationalist bodies and agencies had blamed each other, “the merry-go-round turns still”.

David Cameron’s “assault connected reddish tape”, which helium launched successful the conjugation authorities and prevented ministers from introducing regulations unless they scrapped astatine slightest 1 different rule, volition besides beryllium scrutinised.

The amusement is the latest taste effect to the inquiry, which has included respective different plays, books, podcasts and TV programmes.

Written by Richard Norton-Taylor, a playwright and erstwhile Guardian journalist, and directed by Nicholas Kent, the amusement volition spotlight the stories of 2 families devastated by the occurrence – the Choucairs and the relatives of Saber Neda, an Afghan service serviceman who came to the UK successful 1998 aft fleeing the Taliban and worked arsenic a minicab driver. His woman and lad escaped their 23rd level level done heavy smoke; helium was going to follow, but stayed down to assistance 2 different women. He fell from the apical floor.

The pair’s erstwhile play, Grenfell: Value Engineering did not diagnostic immoderate of the bereaved oregon survivors, but focused connected the gathering companies, assembly officials, experts and firefighters.

Choucair told the enquiry the assembly did not interaction him for days aft the occurrence arsenic helium searched for his mother, sister, brother-in-law and their 3 daughters – all of whom died.

He described the imaginable of his grounds being dramatised arsenic “a spot strange”, but told the Guardian: “I anticipation that what has been said volition beryllium understood and taken seriously. I anticipation the seriousness of what was said is enactment into the theatre.”

The play volition besides amusement the existent London occurrence brigade commissioner, Andy Roe, being cross-examined astir organization failures, arsenic good arsenic elder authorities officials and information experts.

The play volition unfastened connected 18 February – astatine the Playground Theatre, the Tabernacle and the Marylebone Theatre, each successful westbound London – arsenic the enquiry chair, Sir Martin Moore-Bick, continues to see the grounds up of his last report, which is not expected earlier October 2023.

Norton-Taylor said helium hoped the play would assistance “keep the happening alive” successful the nationalist consciousness. “The grounds needs to beryllium heard and listened to arsenic overmuch arsenic possible,” helium said. “This was wholly avoidable, but a reflection of different parts of British nine we are inactive facing now.”

Kent said: “During the tally of the erstwhile play successful October 2021, determination was overmuch unit from the Grenfell assemblage and audiences for america to implicit the communicative of the last signifier of the Grenfell Tower inquiry. This 2nd play focuses connected the captious questions of however the cladding/insulation manufacturers, the London occurrence brigade, authorities regulators and politicians could person averted this unspeakable fire, and however they failed the section assemblage successful the chaos of its aftermath.”