Fine And Dandy: A dazzling story about finding home
Supporting genderqueer, trans and lesbian stories and putting women centre stage
Arcola Queer Collective
The Arcola Queer Collective have many a trick up their sleeve - much like the protagonist of their upcoming production, Fine and Dandy. Written by iconic lesbian theatre legend Sue Frumin (Sea-Change Theatre), the play delves into the depths of British music hall around the turn of the twentieth century.
On an epic queer journey from the Pale of Settlement, through the seaside boulevards of northern England and the fields of northern France, we follow a rag-tag band of performers as they tell the tale of the infamous Ernest Faigele Fine, a singer of cheap ballads and magician of no particular skill.
Ernest falls head over heels for male impersonator Dandy; encountering sailors, clairvoyants, impresarios, soldiers, sweatshop workers and Ethel the snake in a dazzling story about finding home.
Centred around the life of the hapless entertainer Ernest, a character whose gender identity and sexuality are unspecified, Fine and Dandy is a step forward in the changing landscape of queer theatre on London stages, supporting gender queer, trans and lesbian stories and putting women centre stage.
First conceived as a one-woman show in 1999, Fine and Dandy was scheduled to be performed at The Kings Head, Islington - but only on the condition that there was to be no mention of the words "Lesbian" or "Gay" in the marketing. Despite censorship, the house was completely full at a time when there was a dearth of queer theatre in London.
In 2018, the play has been transformed by the Queer Collective, under the direction of Jonathan Richardson (House of Idiot, The Fems) into a glorious romp through time with a highly talented cast who, working as an ensemble, have created a gloriously funny and moving version of this unique story.
As a community theatre company for LGBTQIA+ people in East London, led by and for LGBTQIA+ people, the Queer Collective was founded in 2014 as a response to the lack of queer diversity on London stages, but also in homage to the groundbreaking community-led queer groups, many of whom were attached to theatres.
Fine and Dandy will be the opening production in the Collective’s upcoming season, which is set to be their biggest yet. Starting in February at the end of LGBTQIA+ History month, the season will feature three spectacular productions, all of which re-appropriate narratives or stories from which queer people have often been excluded.
For more information on the Arcola Queer Collective, and to buy tickets for Fine And Dandy click here 🎭
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