Roy Williams’s fierce and excoriating portrait of British racism is set in a south-west London pub, during the 2000 England vs. Germany match. As England lose again, their supporters in The King George lose it too – at full time, patriotism has become unapologetic racism.
Fuelling the xenophobic tensions is the blind venom of Lawrie, captain of the pub team; the articulate propaganda of Alan, active member of an anti-immigration party; and the hatred of Glen the landlady’s son, bullied and confused. The dialogue snaps with alarming authenticity in Williams’s challenging play about what it means to be British, and how people define it – whether it is a bulldog tattoo, or violence against those who don’t fit in.
Sing Yer Heart Out for the Lads premiered in 2002 at the Royal National Theatre, London.