Fringe focus: The plays are the thing

Live theatre has always been the top ambition for the Wanstead Fringe so next week is definitely one not to miss.

From Tuesday night, Wanstead Theatre Company is bringing a production of TWO by Jim Cartwright to the upstairs room at The Bull. It’s the company’s second production, after their sell-out show Bazaar & Rummage earlier this year.

The company’s Fiona Gordon said: “One of the great things about performing a play set in a pub in The Bull is that our set and props are already in place! I’ll be behind the bar playing the Landlady. If you are lucky, I may give you a drink on the house!”

And on Thursday and Friday our second play of the week takes place at the Wanstead High theatre. It’s DNA by Dennis Kelly – one of the plays familiar to drama students.

Jon Fentiman, director, said: “I love this play. It has allowed the actors – and me – huge freedom to experiment with theatrical ideas and comedy, whilst still conveying a serious message about human behaviour.

“Through our rehearsal process, we have really come to admire the writing of Dennis Kelly; writing that can sometimes seem banal and uninspiring on the page, but which becomes exciting and full of life in the mind, body and actions of our actors. I believe we have created an engaging and really entertaining interpretation of DNA, that can be enjoyed by both teenagers and adults.

“The theatre we are using is a wonderful space for both the actors and audience – a real gem – and I think that it is fantastic that Wanstead High School has allowed me this opportunity to share the talent of actors from two of the most prestigious acting academies in the country – East 15 Acting School and Drama Studio – with our local community.”

Tickets for all performances are available here

Our Lady’s Father Sammon dies

Our Lady of Lourdes has announced the death of Canon Patrick Sammon. He had been parish priest for more than 20 years in which time he led significant development of the parish centre. He was only the fourth person to hold the office of parish priest since the first in 1919. Our condolences to his parishioners and friends.

Fringe focus: History and power

Two particularly interesting Fringe events are taking place in the coming days.

Otto English is an author who is at the frontline of the battle against rumour, myths and wrong headedness. His fascinating book Fake History explains why some of the stories we know about people such as Winston Churchill are just plain wrong, and shows how one B. Johnson is at least partly responsible. Appropriately enough, English will be speaking in the Churchill Room at Wanstead Library on Friday evening.

On Monday, documentary-maker and artist Dan Endelstyn will be speaking about the power of film and art to change society. Endelstyn knows about being an activist – he is currently involved in a project to turn his Walthamstow street into a renewable power station, funded in part by his emergency currency, pictured. He is speaking at the Larder on Monday.

Can’t stop the music

Here’s something which – unusually – is being added to the Fringe schedule. It’s the much loved fringe acoustic night, with the best of local singer-songwriters and performers, upstairs in the Bull on Friday night. It’s being put on as ever by Ali Macqueen, above, who – you might remember – has had a pretty eventful couple of years, musically).

Details below.

Wanstead Festival postponed

Redbridge Council has decided to postpone this Sunday’s Wanstead Festival, following the announcement that the Queen’s funeral will be taking place the next day.

It has not yet announced a new date for the festival but is hoping to find an alternative in the next few weeks.

Most Wanstead Fringe events are going ahead, including Saturday’s Jumble Trail. However the decision has been taken to cancel Sunday night’s comedy night with Jeff Innocent.

Fringe comedy impresario Jon Fentiman said: “Good live comedy is normally great, life affirming entertainment. However, putting on a comedy night on the eve of the Queen’s funeral just doesn’t feel right.

“It has been a difficult decision, but I have decided to cancel this Sunday’s Wanstead Fringe Comedy Night at Eton Manor Rugby Club. I sincerely apologise to all those people who have purchased tickets. They will receive a full refund or alternatively may exchange their purchased tickets for the Wanstead Fringe Comedy Night at Eton Manor on the following Sunday, 25th September, which will be going ahead as planned, with Mark Simmons headlining.”

Ticket holders will be contacted directly.

Thursday night’s visit from Costa Book Award-winning poet Hannah Lowe, who was scheduled to speak at Wanstead Library as part of Wanstead Book Festival, has also been postponed. Again, ticket holders will be contacted directly.