Mike Leigh directs Maxine Peake, Rory Kinnear and Nico Mirallegro in this epic period retelling of the Peterloo Massacre in 1819; where a peaceful gathering of workers and families were attacked by armed forces.
Quite a dry history lesson with speeches recreated, didactic exposition spouted out over desks and Leigh’s comical look at class divides causing sneering laughter from those in the know. There is an ambitious sense of scale and an excellent sense of production design. The busy cast has stand outs; Peake, Kinnear, Neil Bell and John Tyas. But after the draining GCSE essay style ‘long term and short term causes’ build up and the chaotic shock of the massacre itself, you are left abruptly with no idea its effect on further history nor its import.