The award-winning Off-Off-Off-Broadway Company returns to the London Horror Festival for its third outing: Polis Loizou’s solo retelling of the old English folktale, Mr Fox.
‘I’m thrilled to be back at London Horror Festival,’ says Loizou, a former London resident now based in Nottingham. ‘It feels like the friendliest club for the many of us who like things dark and a bit weird, and to be left rattled an unnerved, or laughing with shock, by a theatrical experience.’
Loizou tells the story as his own contemporary creation: Lord Leander, a flippant and amusing aristocrat who appears in some way to have lost his status. It soon becomes clear this might be due to a scandal involving a female former employee. But instead of making his case directly, Leander tells the centuries-old tale of the plucky Lady Mary and her mysterious, potentially deadly, fiancé: Mr Fox.
Akin to the Grimms’ The Robber Bridegroom and the French classic Bluebeard, the English variant of the tale is alluded to as far back as 1599, with a line quoted in Shakespeare’s Much Ado About Nothing. It was even adapted by Neil Gaiman as The White Road – a version that imagines Mr Fox as an innocent man brought down by a misguided accusation.
‘When I first encountered Mr Fox,’ says Polis Loizou, ‘I was surprised by how feminist it is for such an old story. The woman has a lot of agency. She gets no help from anyone, and her curiosity is rewarded rather than punished. I love that about the tale, and think Lady Mary should be more celebrated.’
He continues: ‘I wanted to keep those elements but to make them fight, via the use of the contemporary framing device, with the sordid misogyny we are currently witnessing in 2019, as expressed and demonstrated by certain men with power and status.’
Mr Fox is on for one night only at the Pleasance theatre in Islington.
15th October, 7pm
Main House – Pleasance
London, N7 9EF
Polis Loizou – A writer, performer and storyteller from Cyprus, Polis Loizou has written and directed a number of theatre pieces and short films. In 2018 he was selected to take part in Filotico Arts’ TellYours programme for emerging storytellers (in association with The Albany and Battersea Arts Centre), and his debut novel, Disbanded Kingdom, was published by Cloud Lodge Books. Aside from his appearance at the London Horror Festival, this October sees his inclusion in horror anthology Tales From The Shadow Booth vol 4. www.polisloizou.com | @PolisLoizou
The Off-Off-Off-Broadway Company – Formed of three LGBT theatre- and video-makers, the award-winning troupe has performed its shows around the UK since 2009. Previous London Horror Festival appearances include the hit Gothic chiller Peaceful and Cyprus-set one-man show A Curse of Saints. www.offoffoffbroadway.co.uk | @ooobroadway
The London Horror Festival – Scaring the living daylights out of audiences since its inception in 2011, the London Horror Festival is a celebration of the ghoulish, the thrilling and the downright macabre. Over the past nine years it has championed horror theatre, proudly presenting programmes featuring new writing, adaptations of literary classics, immersive interactive experiences, LGBTQ+ cabaret, musicals, opera, burlesque, live podcast recordings, comedy, clowning, puppetry, storytelling, magic, midnight mind-reading and Séance shows, film screenings with live choirs, radio and playwriting competitions, lectures… and much more! www.londonhorrorfestival.co.uk | @LndnHorrorFest
The Pleasance – Pleasance Islington has been one of the most exciting Off-West-End theatres in London since it opened its doors in 1995, providing a launch pad for some of the most memorable productions and renowned practitioners of the past decade and staying true to its mission of providing a platform for the talent of the future. Across three-spaces, the theatre welcomes artists at all stages of their careers, with a commitment to new work that pushes boundaries. www.pleasance.co.uk | @ThePleasance