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Transforming the Playhouse for The Jungle's West End transfer

We chat with writers Joe Murphy and Joe Robertson, as well as producers David Lan and Sonia Friedman about radically transforming a West End theatre into an Afghan restaurant

The Jungle
© Marc Brenner

Joe Murphy and Joe Robertson's hit production of The Jungle, which ran in 2017 at the Young Vic, has opened in the West End so we went down to see how the team has transformed the Playhouse Theatre into an Afghan restaurant.

Directed by Stephen Daldry and Justin Martin, the piece was created in conjunction with Murphy and Robertson's Good Chance Theatre, which originally was situated in the refugee camp in Calais.

The Playhouse has had a complete overhaul for the show and Miriam Buether's set sees audiences sit on benches and tables in the Calais camp. The dress circle has been renamed 'The White Cliffs of Dover' and the stage extends beyond the proscenium arch into the stalls. The new configuration reduces the capacity of the theatre to 450 seats.

The Jungle tells the story of the Calais camp's creation and its destruction. The majority of the original cast has transferred with the show including actors from refugee backgrounds, some of whom came through the Jungle. The full cast includes: Ammar Haj Ahmad, Mohammad Amiri, Girum Bekele, Elham Ehsas, Trevor Fox, Moein Ghobsheh, Ansu Kabia, Alex Lawther, John Pfumojena, Rachel Redford, Rachid Sabitri, Mohamed Sarrar, Ben Turner and Nahel Tzegai.

In her five-star review of the show, Sarah Crompton said The Jungle is "searing, emotional and profound".

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