With this month’s Wanstead Fringe offering three separate theatre productions, Fiona Gordon explains why Wanstead should be proud to be turning ‘luvvie’
Wanstead has come over all ‘luvvie’ of late. We first smelt the greasepaint and heard the roar of the crowd back in April with the launch of Wanstead’s very own professional theatre company, and now not one, not two, but three theatre productions will be coming to Wanstead this month as part of the annual Wanstead Fringe.
There is something for everyone. Black comedy, drama, farce, tragedy – all waiting to capture an audience in a venue on or just off the High Street. What a delight to have quality theatre on our doorstep! What makes it even more delightful is that all three theatre companies have their roots in our village.
Wanstead resident, Marissa Landy, brings her self-penned show fresh from the (slightly) cooler climes of the Edinburgh Fringe Festival. A Non-Emergency is a contemporary comedy based on Marissa’s real-life experiences of working in the ambulance service. Upstairs at The Bull, join a couple of crewmates and the patients they meet on a day at work. It should have you in stitches of the right kind!
Born and bred Wanstead stalwart, Jon Fentiman, known by all for his epic comedy nights, both at the Fringe and throughout the year, brings his directional debut to his old comprehensive school, Wanstead High. DNA by Dennis Kelly is a modern-day black comedy with a dark heart. Centred around a group of adolescents, this explosive play calls into question society’s response to cruelty, bullying, peer pressure and pack mentality. Are these behaviours societal and learned or are they inherent in us all?
And finally, after a sell-out debut of Bazaar & Rummage in April, Wanstead Theatre Co are back with their second show. TWO by Jim Cartwright (The Rise and Fall of Little Voice, Road) is a tale of love, laughs and loss in your friendly local. Come meet the landlady and the landlord of this busy boozer and let them introduce you to the regulars. The production is, once again, site-specific. Set in a pub, and so, performed in The Bull.
It is a testament to our Wanstead community that so many local theatre practitioners want to be part of the ninth Wanstead Fringe. Yes, we are an arty lot who love to be entertained, but we also love to get involved. From the support of businesses, schools and churches willingly providing venues or financial support or creating window displays, to individuals offering their time and talents to promote the shows or to residents sourcing or loaning a much-needed prop or set piece, we are shaping up into a proper theatre community.
Theatre for the community with the help of the community – now that is something worth seeing!
For more information and to book tickets for all Wanstead Fringe events, visit wansteadfringe.org