The big news for last year’s Wanstead Fringe was the event’s first professional theatre production. This year, there are three. Chloe Longstaff takes a look at each
Truly celebrating diversity in theatre, this year’s Wanstead Fringe is hosting three contrasting performances, offering something for all ages and interests.
First up is The Border, an outrageous Brechtian parable that explores the lines we draw between ourselves and other people. Staged by Theatre Centre, which was founded in 1953 and has decades of experience at bringing new writing to audiences, The Border is a timely and thought-provoking contribution to our questions of identity; life is about to be turned upside down for one small town as the border crossing is sealed shut, dividing here from there, us from them, this from that. In the midst of it all, Stranger, a young girl’s beloved dog, has gone missing. Will Stranger be found before the border closes, or will he be trapped forever on the ‘wrong’ side? This play is suitable for children aged 13-plus and will be particularly useful to young audiences, though relevant to everyone. It’s a must for anyone studying drama, citizenship and PHSE.
We Must Throw The Cows Down The Ravine is our next production, by an award-winning theatre company, adapted from the best-selling book Voices of the Labyrinth by Spanish author Ricard Ruiz Garzon, where the reality of schizophrenia is explored. Told from the view of both patients and family members, these true testimonials challenge the stigma and discrimination experienced by people dealing with mental health issues and help us realise each individual’s journey is a very personal one. The show was first produced in Caracas, Venezuela and is now touring Europe. In June, it opened at Teatro La Maquina in Valenica before moving to the renowned Teatro Español in Madrid. In July, it transferred to London where it was performed at the Cervantes Theatre, and it will now be performed (in English) at the Wanstead Fringe!
Last but not least is The Railway Children. This heart-warming tale is set to a stunning new musical soundtrack, bringing a touch of magic to the stage. When Roberta, Peter and Phyllis move to the country with their mother, they discover the joys of the steam railway and make new, unexpected friends. The only thing missing is their father. Brought to the Wanstead Fringe by the company who last year delighted audiences with sell-out performances of The Secret Garden and performed in the impressive Deaton Theatre at Forest School, this is an opportunity to see a West End-style musical right on your doorstep.