News: Harry McDonald’s Foam to premiere at the Finborough Theatre

Croft & Dye Productions and Salt Lick Productions have announced the world première of Harry McDonald’s FoamMatthew Iliffe directs this new play inspired by the true story of Nicky Crane spanning twenty years of the collision of queer identity and extremist politics in 1970s and 80s London. Matthew Iliffe leads a creative team with Set Design by Nitin Pamar, Costume Design by Pam Tait and Lighting Design by Jonathan Chan.

Foam will première at Finborough Theatre on 21 March 2024, with previews from 19 March and run to 13 April 2024.

Harry McDonald said today, “Learning and then writing about Nicky Crane was a fascinating experience. A cult figure, and a personality that on a very superficial first glance appeared to be a horrible tangle of contradictory ideas, but that nonetheless made complete sense to him – a violent and vicious sense, but a sense. His life, it seemed to me, was a way to talk about how easily people can be seduced into extremist politics regardless of their identity. As I’ve worked on the play society seems to be veering ever-rightwards, and, as exemplified by a number of cultural commentators, there is no inherent contradiction between a queer identity and being a fascist.”

Director Matthew Iliffe added “Harry McDonald’s new play Foam boldly examines the life story of the infamous skinhead Nicky Crane, as it unravels through a series of exposing interactions. Through the lens of these encounters, the play skilfully examines tensions existing between identity and politics, challenging audiences to contemplate the conflict between personal beliefs and public personas. In doing so, the play provocatively invites us to confront our own contradictions and shared humanity amidst a backdrop of prejudice, violence, and mortality. Politically charged and bleakly humorous, Foam is a compelling portrait of a unique and neglected queer history that speaks directly to polarisation and political extremism of our own times.”

Croft & Dye Productions and Salt Lick Productions present


Written by Harry McDonald

19 March – 13 April

Directed by: Matthew Iliffe;
Written by: Harry McDonald;
Set Designer: Nitin Pamar;
Costume DesignerPam Tait;
Lighting Designer: Jonathan Chan

“You forget I knew you were a queer long before I knew you were a fascist.”

1973, a public lavatory. Nicky shaves his head, watched by an older man.

Publicly, Nicky is a neo-Nazi. A skinhead. But right now, in this place, that doesn’t matter.

He’s not the first man Nicky meets in a public toilet, and he won’t be the last…

Spanning twenty years and inspired by a true story, Foam examines the nature of identity and the consequences of right-wing extremist ideology against the backdrop of London’s skinhead and gay scenes of the 1970s and 1980s.

With right-wing extremism again on the rise, Foam confronts the flashpoint where the terrifyingly personal and the violently political collide.

Harry McDonald’s debut play Don’t Smoke in Bed, premièred at the 2023 VAULT Festival. His short fiction has been published by Another North, and he has also created work for the Liverpool Everyman’s Love Liverpool project.

Matthew Iliffe directs. His previous credits include, Breeding (King’s Head Theatre), Bacon (Finborough Theatre, Riverside Studios, Edinburgh Festival Fringe and Bristol Old Vic), Four Play (Above The Stag), The NicetiesMaggie May (Finborough Theatre), and The Burnt Part Boys (Park Theatre); and as assistant director, Assassins (Chichester Festival Theatre), BLACK SUPERHERO (Jerwood Theatre Downstairs, Royal Court Theatre), Brass (National Youth Music Theatre/Hackney Empire), and Musik (Leicester Square Theatre).

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