Sink The Belgrano

Louise Gold took over the starring role of Maggot Scratcher when the play transferred (from The Half Moon Theatre) to Mermaid Theatre, from 30 October 1986 (Previews from 21 October)



            Sailor plus - Tan Dean Burn

Sailor plus - George Dillon

Sailor plus - Richard Earthy

Chorus plus - Rory Edwards

Maggot Scratcher - Louise Gold

Sailor plus - Eugene Lipinski

Command plus - Terance McGinty

Pimp plus - Barry Stanton

Nit plus - Bill Stewart

Musician -  Mark Glentworth


Other parts played by members of the cast




Thomas Branches


Production Team

Presented by - Viva Theatre Productions Ltd

Author - Steven Berkoff

Director - Steven Berkoff

Original Production -  2 September 1986, The Half Moon-Theatre, London

Running Time - 90 minutes, no interval

Company and Stage Manager - Helen Wilding

Deputy Stage Manager - Gill van Zwanenberg

Décor - Ellen Cairns

Lighting - Dee Kyne


The play had previously been playing at The Half-Moon Theatre, when they transferred theatres they changed several of the main cast, included the leading role.

The General Belgrano was a light cruiser warship of the Brooklyn Class, it was originally a United States vessel, number CL-46 known as the USS Phoenix (the third vessel to carry that name), laid down on 15 April 1935, launched on 13 March 1938 and commissioned in the October of that year. After service in South America The Phoenix spent some time based of the West coast of the USA, most notably Pearl Harbour. Where, anchored south east of Ford Island it survived the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbour during World War 2 unharmed, mainly because the Japanese aircraft concentrated their attack on the nine big Battle-ships (with the exception of the USS Maryland which was in dry dock), rather than the smaller craft. With the result that: three of these (including The Phoenix formed an impromptu task force to search for Japanese aircraft carriers, and then the appropriately named Phoenix escorted the first US convoy out of Pearl Harbour since the attack. After spending most of WWII fighting the Japanese, The Phoenix was decommissioned 3 July 1946. Transferred to the Argentinean’s on 9 April 1951 the warship was recommissioned in the Argentinean Navy as Diceisiete de Octubre on 17 October 1951, and renamed General Belgrano in 1956. The warship was sunk, in 45 minutes by a British nuclear submarine, HMS Conqueror during the Falklands War (in 1982) with the loss of 321 men.

Political-Satirical actress Louise Gold had previously played a caricature of Margaret Thatcher in Metropolitan Mikado, she went on to play her properly (side and back views only) on television in The Alan Clark Diaries.

Rory Edwards went on to appear in an episode of Casualty.

Ellen Cairns went on to design a production of Poppy, at The Half Moon Theatre.

Ellen Cairns also went on to design the stage production of The Little Sister, which was also produced by Viva Theatre Productions.


I'm not sure whether critic Malcolm Hay realised that the leading lady was a founder member of Spitting Image (their Leading Puppeteer in fact).


Critics Comments

 "Louise Gold makes a striking and suitably strident Maggot Scratcher, swearing like a trouper at her craven underlings. But the best moments rarely rise above the level of a 'Spitting Image' sketch." Malcom Hay, TIME OUT, 5 November 1986


Links about Sink The Belgrano

TheatreNow.Com interview: Gold On Stage: Louise Gold In Follies:  This is an interview carried out by Theatre.Com’s Paul Webb, one hot summer’s day, while Louise was appearing in Follies at The Royal Festival Hall. Although the interview is ostensibly about her role in Follies she also talks about her other Sondheim performances, along with: Memphis Tennessee, Political Theatre (including Sink The Belgrano), and Spitting Image.

 Steven Berkoff’s Official Website:

George Dillon’s Homepage:

Iain Fisher’s page about Berkoff’s plays:

Maggie To A T, evening Standard Article (from 2002) about who has portrayed Mrs Thatcher in drama:

We Are An Impersonator, The Arts Desk article (from 8 February 2011) about actresses who have portrayed Mrs Thatcher:


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