Odd plan for London success

GALASHIELS,  UNITED KINGDOM:   20 Oct  2010'Judy Steel pictured with her New Book'Tales from the Tap End, and images at Boleside, a place with fond memories, mentioned in the book'''(photo: Rob Gray)
GALASHIELS, UNITED KINGDOM: 20 Oct 2010'Judy Steel pictured with her New Book'Tales from the Tap End, and images at Boleside, a place with fond memories, mentioned in the book'''(photo: Rob Gray)

THE young cast of Odd Productions is hoping to march all the way to London’s National Theatre.

The Peebles-based group are hoping their production of new play Frank & Ferdinand will win the National Theatre Connections competition.

The competition allows companies to choose one of 10 plays, and 19 other productions of Frank & Ferdinand, by Australian Samuel Adamson, are also hoping to be selected. The winning productions of all 10 shows will be put on at the National Theatre in July.

Kath Mansfield, founder of Odd Productions, believes young Borders talent needs a chance to show the nation what they are capable of. So, once accepted on National Theatre Connections project, she gathered a group of actors aged 13 to 16 to perform this fairytale with a modern twist.

Kath said: “Frank & Ferdinand is really interesting because it has its roots in fairytale but there are layers to the play.

“There are delicious allusions to the Crusades, a whiff of the Second World War, a splash of modern-day terrorism, a sprinkling of disability, a grating of racism and general teasing which turns nasty. And blended smoothly in all this is the question of who is telling the truth? I love that Adamson has crafted Frank & Ferdinand so it isn’t heavy – there is humour amid the important issues.”

Odd Productions are to perform Frank & Ferdinand at the Eastgate Theatre on March 16 and 17, and will appear at Lyceum in Edinburgh in June.

They have received support from John Kirby of London, a regular visitor to Peebles who has provided £500 for Odd Productions to take part in the project. Kath said: “I am enormously grateful to John for his generosity and I want to be a credit to his faith in me.

“I have high expectations of this cast, and with support and nurture, it is amazing what will happen. Moreover, this script is a gift. It is not patronising and has faith in youngsters and their understanding.

“I am confident this teenage cast will tell the story convincingly and the audience will enjoy the experience, but will think about the questions raised. It’s a cracker of a play.”

As well as acting, youngsters are helping with publicity, props and are responsible for technical aspects, guided by Richard Hogg, sound and lighting technician at the Eastgate Theatre.