Frank & Ferdinand and The Drunks
Studio Liverpool, Liverpool
Off the Ground Youth Theatre presented this double bill of new plays.
Firstly, as a part of the National Theatres Connections project, Samuel Adamson’s Frank and Ferdinand. A village in a war-ravaged country wakes to find that one hundred and thirty children have vanished. Only four are left: Otto, Aloysius, Sarah and Flora. Interviewed by a Military Inquiry, each child tells the events of the night before. But their accounts seem to differ. Who is the elusive Sebastian and why does the Inquiry's depiction of him keep changing from delinquent to charmer and back again? What's real, and what's fairy-tale?
This modern retelling of the Pied Piper of Hamelin questions children’s role in modern society, the making of myths and how we see what we want to see, not what’s there.
The second production, The Drunks, was commissioned for the RSC last year and Off the Ground will be the first youth theatre in Europe to perform it. This riotous, satirical cartoon is set in an unremarkable Russian provincial town, which is in search of a hero. A shell-shocked soldier, whose doctor’s have warned him not to drink, returns from the frontline in Chechnya. And as Ilya arrives home he stumbles into the epicenter of an extraordinary power struggle between the weapons obsessed chief of police and the power-crazed mayor, his lonely ex-lover and manipulative journalist. Alcohol seems to be the only option.
Reminiscent of Gogol’s The Government Inspector, The Drunks is hilarious and distressing at the same time – laughter through tears. Although the plays are wildly different in style they both ask questions relevant to young people today – what is it to be part of a society and how do you, or should you fit in?
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