The more things change, the more they stay the same… It wasn’t without a huge slice of irony that this particular performance of Boys from the Blackstuff – which is set against the backdrop of a North forgotten – was staged on the day the Prime Minister scrapped the northern leg of HS2.

Having originally been a landmark 80s tv series, much has been said and written already about the cyclical prescience of the return of Alan Bleasdale’s tale to the public eye, but it’s clear the story of working class strife has been brought back at a time when many of its themes are all too familiar.

Depravation, mental health, loss of community, of faith, of hope.

Few theatres reflect their city quite the way the Royal Court does so it was a fitting location for the production, with its stage transformed into a backdrop of a struggling working-class neighbourhood.

Like the 1982 TV drama, the play follows the stories of five unemployed men who lost their jobs following the events of the original play The Black Stuff. The former tarmacking crew find themselves on the dole, trying to make ends meet anyway they can.

The ensemble cast brough together actors with a range of experience, some household names – like Mark Womack as honest but down on his luck everyman 'Dixie' Dean - and Dominic Carter, known for shows like Game of Thrones.

But the undoubted star was Barry Sloane as Yosser Hughes.

Famous for his ‘giz a job!’ catchphrase, the character – originally made famous by Bernard Hill – is perhaps even more relevant today, due to the issues surrounding men’s mental health being much more openly talked about than they were back then.

Though amusing at times, Sloane’s depiction of Hughes is also difficult to watch on occasion as he gradually and slowly descends into abject despair following the loss of his job, and after becoming estranged from his family. He becomes a man with nothing to lose, acting out through violence until there is little left other than a shell.

But in truth, all of the performances in this play are exceptional, with a script brought to life by James Graham, whose work includes the BBC's Sherwood, the cop drama which captured many of the same themes and dealt with the legacy of the 1984 miners’ strike on working class communities.

And in a week where Liz Truss returned to the public eye and spoke about how to get the country’s economy growing again, I left with the final words of one of the characters – a Department for Employment fraud investigator who, it transpires, has deliberately been doing less than a sterling job of catching people playing both sides against the middle.

“None of it make sense.” She tells a colleague.

“It’s not supposed to make sense. Madness IS the point.”

The shows runs until October 28. For tickets visit