• Kay Andrews-Kuhn

A double bill of fringe theatre

Press release written to promote the preview shows. A short version appears in The Banbury Guardian 'What's On'

The Banbury area is home to a strong theatre community with a broad offering; that’s good news for two local groups who are seeking to attract a strong-nerved and broad minded audience for a new joint venture, a double bill of nail-biting drama and irreverent comedy.

For two nights in May/June, Peppered Wit Productions will perform ‘The Wasp’ by Morgan Lloyd Malcolm, kicking off their summer tour which ends with a week-long residency at the world famous Edinburgh Fringe Festival in August. Joining them for this exclusive preview weekend are a group from Lynden Players who will perform ‘PLOT’ by Kay Andrews-Kuhn, before taking the one act play to the Lighthorne Festival in Warwickshire on 7 June.

Writer and director Kay, who lives in Middleton Cheney, was inspired to write a festival length play after seeing Peppered Wit perform ‘Immaculate’ by Oliver Lansley at Croughton Village Hall in 2017. “I loved the idea of watching a show in an intimate space, close to the actors, feeling a connection to the story unfolding in front of you. I wanted to try something new and move the performance out of our usual location” said Kay. “I also wanted to explore more adult themes and ideas. I have written two successful and original pantomimes for Lynden Players where I pushed the boundaries a little, but I was ready to go a step further and see where my imagination would take me.

“I was very proud to hear that ‘PLOT’ had been accepted into Lighthorne festival; it’s a highly regarded four day event, now in its 8th year, which encourages new talent and celebrates drama in a competitive but also supportive and friendly arena. Previous winners have gone on to success at a national level. This experience is a new challenge for me and also for Lynden Players. I was determined that the cast and crew would have an opportunity to perform the show in the run up to the competition and could not believe my luck when we teamed up with Peppered Wit Productions. Coincidence or fate? Whichever theory you choose - the shows are a great fit and I promise you a brilliant night out.”

PLOT is a ‘backstage’ play where the story follows a troupe of actors who are rehearsing a new production loosely based on the Gunpowder Plot. Discovering that the script is terrible, and fearing for their reputations, the cast plot to sabotage the show. “It’s a bawdy comedy with some fruity language” said Kay. “Don’t say I didn’t warn you!”

From camp comedy to tense thriller, ‘The Wasp’ is a complete contrast. The two-handed drama will leave the audience on the edge of their seats as the action twists and turns to a thrilling climax. Does ‘The Wasp’ have a sting in its tail? Director and co-founder of Peppered Wit Tara Lacey said: “The play is a gripping thriller which shows two former school friends exploring the consequences of childhood bullying. Now at very different places in their lives, the two women tell a story which is at times darkly comedic, as the power shifts and veers towards a shocking conclusion”.

Self-funded Peppered Wit Productions, have toured fringe theatre since 2012 and produced 4 and 5 star shows at both Camden and Brighton Fringe Festivals. The company passionately believe theatre should be accessible to everyone; that the arts provide a window into life and experience which helps us all to process our deeply-held emotions, fears and beliefs.

These previews mark the beginning of their 2019 tour which continues at the Etcetera Theatre, Camden at the end of June, Guildford Fringe Festival in July and sees them return to the Edinburgh Fringe during the third week of August. (Tour details are available at pepperedwit.co.uk).

“We are looking forward to performing to a home crowd before we embark on our tour” continued Tara. “It’s always fun to make new friends, especially those who share your passion for live performance. Our collaboration with Lynden Players is not only beneficial for both groups but also an opportunity for audiences to enjoy some ground-breaking and original theatre.”

The double bill opens on Friday 31 May at The Atic, Banbury and moves to Middleton Cheney Village Hall on Saturday 1 June.