‘My mother would scowl at me when I sat in the sun for too long. She feared how dark my skin could get, much like she feared her own.’ ELLA WILSON talks to ISSAM AZZAM writer and director of Ed Fringe show Papaya. Ayesha Baloch, Sarah Al-Sarraj, and Rosemary Moss star as three women grappling with family, loss, racism, colonialism, colourism and womanhood. How did the show come to be? Well, I came up with the idea of having a person from two places – I wanted to have something where a person was forced to integrate into a new society, to come over to work here and be in an environment which was completely alien to them. So in the play, it’s a maid who works for a couple. The first one I wrote was about comparing West and East a lot more. When she was home she kind of…Continue Reading

Papaya

SOPHIE CUNDALL reviews the UCL Graters’ new Panopticon, coming to the Edinburgh Fringe. From the brainwaves of Felicity Wareing, Joe Andreyev, Luke Shepherd, Sam Dodhgson, Isobel Macleod and Alice Fraser comes Panopticon, a fast paced, jam packed hour and a half of fresh new sketches that will make you giggle until your jaw aches. This selection of sketches matches as many different tastes as a box of Quality Streets. The show will provide a laugh for each audience member, and even if some sketches fall slightly flat, the ground is made up elsewhere. Whatever your preferred type of humour, there is something for you here, as the show riffs astutely off today’s world and is painfully relatable at times.  The real stand out element of the show is the performances of the Graters themselves; they move fluidly between accents and mannerisms, constructing convincing characters within a matter of seconds, dragging us on a wild journey…Continue Reading

Panopticon

DANIEL LUBIN talks to the team behind The B in the Room coming to Edinburgh Fringe next week. So, what’s the play about? Joey Jepps (writer & co-director): The play’s about bisexuality and misconceptions of bisexuality in society, and the way we approached it is through a male and a female, a 16 year old, incredibly Christian male, Elliott and a 39 year old, bordering-on-midlife-crisis female, Dana. Why did you pick these two characters? Joey: Well bisexuality is about being essentially in the middle of two different identities that people understand, so I thought the best way of approaching it was with a man and a woman; because that’s what it’s about, it’s about being holistic, being able to love everybody, loving all genders, and that’s why I pushed it from a male and female [point of view]. So we had the gender difference but then we decided also to have…Continue Reading

The B in the Room

EMMA NIHILL discusses Breathless Theatre’s SPACES, debuting at the Edinburgh Fringe. SPACES began with an online questionnaire, asking a broad and anonymous community the surprisingly difficult question: ‘do you feel there are any boundaries you cannot cross in your relationships with other people?’ The responses came in a flood. People wrote about their relationship with the LGBTQ+ community, how they align their faith with their way of life, how they navigate interracial relationships, their struggles with and recovery from mental illness. The replies were from people who feltdistanced from their parents, close to their friends, lonely or emotionally supported, confident in their identity or fundamentally unsure about their place in a community.  From this one source came proof that, perhaps unsurprisingly, people are bound up in their complicated connections to others. And so, the debut play of Breathless Theatre was born from the simple idea that what makes people different from…Continue Reading

SPACES

SOPHIE CUNDALL reviews the Edinburgh Fringe preview of Dining al Desko at Etcetera Theatre. From writer Alastair Curtis, with the direction of Philippa Lawford, comes a biting satire about the kind of dreary biro-clad existence we all dread: working in an open-plan office that appears to have been kitted out by Tiger or an equally scandi-chic brand. Laughs come thick and fast, even if jokes sometimes toe a line, and the story moves quickly, more so than one might expect for such a drab environment. The comedy is fresh, and relevant; though it follows a long tradition of satirical comedies set in an office, the genre is re-imagined for an utterly millennial audience. Our three guides to this maze of staplers and phone calls are Trish, Julie and Tom (India Opzoomer, Mia Georgis and Christopher Page), three caricatures that are painfully familiar. Julie provides us with a frantic, and increasingly tragic, secretary whose work…Continue Reading

Dining al Desko

POLLY CREED talks about her new theatre project, Power Play. So, what is Power Play? Power Play is an activist theatre project, a feminist theatre project that aims to understand the systemic problems facing women in the industry and works also as a data activism project, so we’ll publicise these facts to help people understand the problems more, at venues and festivals, and through individuals. We’ll have a showcase at the Edinburgh Fringe, and also be publicising all our data through a kind of Guerilla Girls style campaign, so putting out posters all across the fringe. Is it predominantly a theatre project or an activist project? I’d say it’s predominantly an activist project, so the kind of key thing we’re doing is the data analysis. There’s never been any kind of data analysis of the Edinburgh Fringe, or of most Fringe theatre in the UK, so it’s really unknown territory.…Continue Reading

Power Play