Better to be a grafter, than a grifter! -J Allday
Better to be a grafter, than a grifter! -J Allday
In the 19th century, London was the capital of the largest empire the world had ever known, but in addition to the tales of a city paved with streets of gold was the more darker side of London life - organised crime.
With the birth of the industrial revolution, came an economy that would soon produce a large working populace and with that, the needs and lust of men - and who better to feed and thrive from this new economy than organised crime families and their gangs.
London would soon become home to some of the most notorious in gangland history.
Charles ' Derby' Sabini - Brought up in London's 'Little Italy' in Clerkenwell, Charles grew to prominence after toppling Billy Kimber from his position of reign over Tottenham Court Road and Warren Street. Kimber's rival, Charles McDonald, now became Sabini's — their two gangs fought throughout the 1920s
Alfie Solomon was born in London, England in 1895, the son of a Russian - Jewish refugee mother. Solomon was raised in a working-class family in Camden Town, and he made his wealth as a gangster, opening a speakeasy using a bakery, the Aerated Bread Company, as a front. Solomons led the Bessarabian Tigers gang.
Ronnie and Reggie Kray were born within ten minutes of each other on Oct. 24, 1933, in Hoxton, London. The Twins were British criminals, the foremost perpetrators of organised crime in East London from the late 50s to 1967. The Krays were alleged to have been involved in murder, armed robbery, arson, protection rackets
Twins Ronald "Ronnie" Kray (24 October 1933 – 17 March 1995) and Reginald "Reggie" Kray (24 October 1933 – 1 October 2000) they've just been cleared of demanding money with menaces and have made a rare appearance on national news.
Known as the Pimpernel, a multi-millionaire criminal who has been on the run for more than 20 years and is believed to be one of the most senior figures in the British underworld. A successful armed robber during the Seventies when he ran a gang called the 'Wembley Mob'.
Author of 'JUDAS PIG' and whose once involvement in organised crime including being a partner of one of the UK's most prolific and dangerous criminal gangs.
Once a partner in one of the UK's most prolific and dangerous criminal gangs talks about how the gang started and progressed through the use of violence and intimidation.
The End is a story of a group of men with a common bond - all born in the East End of London into poverty striving for a better life & all found that life in crime. Unashamed & unapologetic these men live their lives defined by a code of honor. The End reveals the bloody history & confessions of a cockney gangster.
'The End: British Gangsters' Official Trailer
An engaging one-man show written and performed by Ryan Simms about his East End gangster father
Danny O’Halloran, known as Skinny Dan, born in 1936, died in July 2005 is the chosen subject of Ryan’s play. His father, Dannywas a member of the London gangland. A contemporary of the Great Train Robber’s and during the time of the Krays.
This play is by his son Ryan Simms. A young man who – to his father’s horror decided to go into acting. Dan was very much against him following in father’s footsteps and becoming a villain. He wanted his son to be respectable, working a ‘straight job, in an office. But Ryan was fascinated in the life story of his father and wanted to play the role of his father and tell the story without making him a hero.
The story is rooted in East London against a backdrop of gangland feuds and endemic rivalries when the Kray twins’ rulein East London. They might have been the most ‘famous’ but were far from being the only criminals. As history and as many scars have shown, London was plenty with less well-known but more violent characters working the streets, who had a major impact on life in the pubs, clubs, homes and businesses of the area and beyond. One of them was Danny O'Halloran. He featured prominently among the ranks of proper high perched career criminals, who were both feared and respected. It’s his story that Ryan Simms has written up and now relates on stage. As O'Halloran’s son, Simms is well placed to give the low-down on his father’s achievements and failings as a career criminal.
Danny may have been a thief and a murderer, but at home he was just Dad. Danny got into crime at a very early age, making his way robbing banks, fighting with his contemporaries, leading into murder. He knew the Krays and the first few minutes of the show outlines his experiences with them.
The show is in two parts and the second part is about his experiences in prison serving a ten-year sentence and in solitary for three months. That meant living with an electric light on night and day, sleeping in a cold cell ridden with cockroaches, no books, no paper to write and no life. All he could do was sit and think and later in life, tell his story to his son Ryan.
It is within those two hours we learn of Ryan’s old man’s life of – sometimes violent – crime. Although he was a family man and loved his wife, we discover he also had a dark side and the last thing he wanted was his son to become was a ‘poncey’ actor.
This is raw theatre and a stellar performance. It is a testament to the hard-working, soul-searching efforts of a young man, who gives an impressive performance in his first production. This is a reflection of a real East London villain, highlighted in a play ofa ‘spit and sawdust’ production value. It’s just two chairs and lights that can only be on or off – and lends a level of authenticity to Ryan’s performance as that’s the nuts and bolts of any valued piece of theatre.
Ryan learnt his acting skills from the poor School and Paul Caister, the founder of this institution helped Ryan to develop the script and directs the play. Caister shares the stage playing himself, sitting on another chair, facing the just visible star-cloth from a previous Gatehouse production
Prairie Flower is overflowing with originality and a silent punch. It gives a rare inciteful look and experience into one man’s soul. A performance, that would be hard to impress upon an audience if delivered by any other person or way. We hope to see and hear a lot more of Danny, who clearly has a gift for his learning and craft that should remind an otherwise un appreciating audience that some of the most note able and iconic actors are of a working-class upbringing.
Prairie Flower is a representation of a mans undiluted level of passion for his craft and place in the world of acting. Ryan Simms has turned his family's dark past into a compelling play and his own standout performance as his father is nothing short of utterly mesmerising.
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