Rather than the usual gradual trickle of transfers from the Edinburgh Fringe to London over the autumn, the Ambassadors Theatre Group (ATG) is presenting the West End with a packaged parcel of festival hits.
For a month, from 9 September to 9 October 2004, the West End venue will host the West End premieres of a number of shows – a mix of theatre as well as cabaret and comedy – running in repertory and including many late night performances. What’s more all will be set at the Fringe-friendly price of £15 for all seats, rather than the West End norm of £35 to more than £40 for top-price tickets to plays.
The exact schedule of productions is still being finalised* (SEE BELOW), and will be announced shortly. So far confirmed is The Translucent Frogs of Quuup, which won the Guardian’s Fringe Award for Best Original Musical after its season last month at Edinburgh’s C Too venue. At the New Ambassadors, it plays five nights only - 9, 11, 13, 15 and 17 September 2004.
Written by The Right Size collaborator Chris Larner (The Play What I Wrote, Do You Come Here Often?, Bewilderness, Mr Puntila and His Man Matti), The Translucent Frogs of Quuup is the story of a suburban Surbiton couple who take a canoe up the Amazon in search of adventure, and frogs, in 1922.
Another festival expected to feature is Gone, Glyn Cannon’s Fringe First-winning modern version of Sophocles' Antigone (See The Goss, 1 Sep 2004).
Currently at the New Ambassadors, the transfer of the Tricycle Theatre’s theatrical documentary Guantanamo - 'Honor Bound to Defend Freedom' finishes its limited twelve-week West End season this Saturday, 4 September 2004 (See News, 9 Jun 2004). A separate production of the politically charged drama about the Cuban detainees at the US’ Camp Delta opened this week in New York, timed to coincide with the Republican Convention held in the city.
The Edinburgh Exported season will be followed at the theatre by Stephen Sondheim’s Sweeney Todd, which transfers from the West End’s Trafalgar Studios, also owned by ATG, on 13 October (See News, 1 Sep 2004).
UPDATED, 1.30pm 3 Sep 2004: Full programme details have now been confirmed for the Edinburgh Exported season. These have been added below along with producer comments.
In addition to The Translucent Frogs of Quuup, the three other theatre productions receiving their West End premieres as part of the Edinburgh Exported season at the New Ambassadors will be as follows:
Most of the 7.30pm theatre performances at the New Ambassadors will be followed by comedy or cabaret at 9.30pm. Amongst the featured late-night acts are Perrier nominee Joanna Neary (with Joanna Neary Is Not Feeling Herself), Ed Byrne (with Me Again), Scott Capurro, Lee Mack, Richard Herring (with The Twelve Tasks of Hercules Terrace), Jason Byrne (with That’s Not a Badger!), The Consultants, Jimeoin, Brendon Burns and Craig Hill (with One Man and His Kilt).
John Richardson from Sonia Friedman Productions, which is presenting Edinburgh Exported with ATG, commented on the season: “I am thrilled that the New Ambassadors is hosting such an exciting and innovative season. This is a unique opportunity for Londoners to sample the best theatre, comedy and cabaret shows from the Edinburgh Fringe in one West End venue. We very much hope that the success of our season will pave the way for more of the same in years to come.”
Tickets for all shows will be priced at just £15.
- by Terri Paddock