THERE aren’t many musicals staged at the RSC Stratford, but Miss Littlewood is one that is definitely on song.

The question is posed early on: why do we know about so many unremarkable men and so few remarkable women?

This is answered wholeheartedly in a remarkable tribute to Joan Littlewood, a theatrical revolutionary; a true pain in the arts.

Sam Kenyon wrote the book, music and lyrics for this energetic, unashamedly theatrical nod to a woman of greater substance than she’s ever given credit for.

Joan is played by six different actors through her ages who each bring something unique and inspiring to the musical set in a bare rehearsal room which doubles up as an impoverished kitchen/bedroom.

Directed by Erica Whyman in the Swan Theatre, Joan also has a directive presence on stage in the versatile Clare Burt who pulls no punches in unravelling Joan’s life.

The songs are thoughtful and touching and the choreography, timing and delivery as tight and disciplined as Joan would have demanded. A play in the theatre about the theatre could have been a bit lovey but it’s turned out lovely.

From poor beginnings in Stockwell, London, Joan set up a radical theatrical group in the 1950s with Jimmie Miller - later known as Ewan MacColl played and sung by actor Greg Barnett.

Her radical productions shook the establishment and she conquered the West End but preferred her base in Stratford – East not on Avon!

The great theatrical critic Kenneth Tynan said while others write plays, direct them or act, Joan makes theatre such as opening a play about Hiroshima in a Butlins camp. She championed budding writers and nurtured fledgling acting talents.

Miss Littlewood runs at the Swan Theatre until August 4. Box Office: 01789 403493.