August 11 2014
Think anyone who is anyone has gone up to Edinburgh, not quite…
BILLED as something of an alternative to the Edinburgh Fringe Festival and now in its 9th year, is the Camden Fringe Festival.
Hosted by theatres across the North London borough, it also aims to give a focused platform to both the novice, experienced and quite a few of those in between.
Among them is theatre director Amna Khwaja, whose “The Wodehouse Principle” hits the Upstairs at the Gatehouse in Highgate village for four nights from tomorrow (August 12).
Written by her former actor colleague, James Moxon-Browne, the play is an intriguing mix of noir, skulduggery, and blurry lines between reality and fiction. A young writer picks up a mobile phone left on a bus on a night out and decides he should re-unite it with its owner. It is the cue for some strange-goings on.
The play was shortlisted by the prestigious Bush Theatre as part of its new writing programme last year.
“He (Moxon-Browne) approached me and I liked it and was willing to give it a shot,” Khwaja told www.asianculturevulture.com
Khwaja’s own theatre company, INtraverse Productions, is behind “The Wodehouse Principle”.
She is something of a veteran having put on more than a half dozen productions since setting up INtraverse in 2008, beginning at the Etcetera Theatre in Camden, when it was run by the founders of the Camden Fringe, Zena Barrie and Michelle Flower. The pair used to help stage productions at the Edinburgh Fringe between 2002-2006.
INtraverse’s debut production, “Threeway” was a comedy farce with characters each telling their version of a story that occurred the night before.
Khwaja produced it after a seven-month stint as a trainee director at the King’s Head in Islington.
She also holds a Masters in Theatre Studies from the Royal Central School of Speech and Drama, London and grew up in Fulham to a Pakistani origin father and Irish mum.
“I decided to do work that interested me and I wanted to have more control and as such find my own scripts, ” she explained.
She combines her theatre work with a flourishing media career as a freelance video producer working for “Newsweek”.
“It’s taken a long time to get there,” she downplayed. “I come from a conservative family background and the arts wasn’t something you made a career in – my parents are happy to see I’ve got my hands into politics and they’d love to have a political journalist in the family.”
She’s writing her own next production, “Raconteur”, inspired by the life and outrageous persona of Quentin Crisp who wrote “The Naked Civil Servant” (1968) and became something of a symbol of an old world English camp charm and comedy.
She is not the only Asian presence left at the festival – you can see Manjeet Mann in “She’s The Bitchy One”, about growing up with five sisters.
And actually fresh from the Edinburgh fringe is Nalika de Silva’s “Me, Bill Nighy, and the Goblin – A one woman comedy show”. It has a two-night run at the Canal Café Theatre next week.
Main Picture: “The Wodehouse Principle”
• “The Wodehouse Principle” 7.30pm, Tuesday, August 12 & Friday, August 15 at 9.15pm on August 13&14 at 7.30pm Upstairs at the Gatehouse, Highgate Village N6 4BD. (£12/£10)
• “She’s the Bitchy One” Manjeet Mann, Monday, August 18 and Tuesday, August 19, 3.30pm, Etcetera Theatre, above the Oxford Arms, Camden High Street, London NW1 7BU. (£6/£5)
• “Me, Bill Nighy, and the Goblin – A one woman comedy show” Nalika De Silva, Thursday, August 21 and Friday, August 22, 7.30pm, Canal Café Theatre, above the Bridge House pub, Delamere Terrace, Little Venice W2 6ND. (£7/£5)
The Camden Fringe Festival, July 28-August 24