The epic project by Muswell Hill journalist Richard Norton-Taylor and Maida Vale director Nicolas Kent to distil The Grenfell Inquiry into five hours of theatre feels both urgent and nationally important.

The two plays spring from days listening to legal hearings and filleting transcripts for salient details and quotes - to understand how and why a fire tore through the Kensington tower block killing 74 people.

Kent and Norton-Taylor have collaborated before, on inquiries into Stephen Lawrence and Bloody Sunday, and their deliberately untheatrical 'tribunal' plays forensically present evidence to unravel the structural and human failures that led to terrible events.

As well as sparking anger and spotlighting responsibility, the Grenfell plays are quietly devastating pleas for justice, as incompetence, costcutting, deregulation and profiteering had fatal consequences for a marginalised community in one of London's richest boroughs.

The first; Value Engineering played Notting Hill's Tabernacle in 2021 with the second; System Failure opens at the Playground Theatre before moving to The Tabernacle then Marylebone Theatre.

Opening night at the tiny Latimer Road theatre was a poignant reminder of one of Britain's worst peace-time disasters. As you arrive, your eye is drawn to the site where a small electrical fire developed into an inferno fed by composite cladding on the tower on June 14, 2017.

In a blandly institutional setting, Principal counsel for the enquiry, Richard Millett (Ron Cook) forensically establishes the failings in regulation, standards, and testing duties of local government and national organisations.Ham & High: Howard Crossley as Lord Pickles in Grenfell System FailureHoward Crossley as Lord Pickles in Grenfell System Failure (Image: Tristram Kenton)

Good governance perished under the fetish for a "bonfire of red tape" to liberate markets and make companies “more competitive”. We hear from representatives of manufacturers who resort to what Millett called a "merry-go-round of buck-passing" to protect their position and shift the blame.

For several years the person atop the regulatory pyramid was Lord Pickles. Howard Crossley is superb as the self-serving minister for communities and local government, trying to ingratiate himself to Inquiry Chairman Sir Martin Moore-Brick (a sombre, authoritative Thomas Wheatley) while irritably seeking to exonerate himself for fire safeguards being dismantled on his watch.

The first play heard little from the families, but here Tanveer Ghani (quietly dignified as Imran Khan QC, counsel for survivors and residents) reads the harrowing story of Afghan refugee Mohamed Amied Neda who died alongside several members of his family, and the evening opens with the testimony of Hisam Choucair (an impressive Shahzad Ali) whose account of how families were treated by over-bureaucratic and insensitive agencies shames us all.

After four years, 320,000 documents, and 1600 witness statements, the hearings have concluded and the final report is due later this year. Hopefully some heads will roll, but in the meantime anyone trying to understand the impact of the rush to de-regulate on ordinary lives should pay attention to this play and the lessons of Grenfell.

Grenfell System Failure runs at The Tabernacle, Notting Hill until March 12 and at Marylebone Theatre March 14-26.