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The Giant Jam Sandwich comes to the Pleasance, London for Easter

Preview by Lizzie Guilfoyle

FOLLOWING a hugely successful 2017 tour, Edinburgh Fringe run and sell out performances at Polka Children’s Theatre, New Perspectives is presenting The Giant Jam Sandwich at the Pleasance Theatre, London – from April 4 to April 8, 2018.

An all-time favourite picture book of generations of parents and children, The Giant Jam Sandwich is the madcap tale of the eccentric little village of Itching Down which is invaded by four million troublesome wasps.

This colourful and interactive production has been adapted for the stage by New Perspectives Artistic Director Jack McNamara from the book by Janet Burroway and wasp-allergy-sufferer John Vernon Lord.

This year the book celebrates its 45th year as readers of all ages continue to be enthralled by this timeless tale of a community’s inventive plan to trap a swarm of wasps in an enormous sandwich.

One hot summer’s day, four million wasps invade the quiet village of Itching Down. Noisy, nasty and worst of all, they don’t mind who they sting! That is until the baker has an ingenious idea…

Having been translated and adapted for radio, television and large-scale orchestra, this is the first stage production. Bursting with humour for adults and children alike, New Perspectives’ production evokes the vivid brilliance of the original illustrations whilst expanding the story with original songs by James Atherton and a host of new characters.

John Vernon Lord is among the production’s fans, commenting: “I enjoyed it from beginning to end…a very clever way of extending the story.”

The play’s adapter and director, Jack McNamara, said: “John Vernon Lord and Janet Burroway’s book remains one of the most original and eccentric depictions of life in an English village, so as a touring company rooted in the rural world it was a perfect fit for us. It has been great to see audiences of all ages getting so much from the show both on tour and at the Festival and we are thrilled to be bringing it back to London as an Easter treat”.

New Perspectives is an East Midlands based company with over 40 years’ experience of touring high quality productions to venues of all sizes across the UK, from mid-scale theatres to village halls. With a strong rural core, they create productions to fit spaces of any size in order to bring new work that is unexpected and thought-provoking to a wide range of audiences.

Since 2012, they have been led by Artistic Director Jack McNamara whose productions include The Boss of It All by Lars von Trier (Assembly Roxy, Edinburgh and Soho Theatre), The Lovesong of Alfred J Hitchcock by David Rudkin (Brits off Broadway, New York and UK tour), and Darkness Darkness (Nottingham Playhouse co-production).

Jack McNamara continues: “It feels wrong in the 21st century to tell a story about an invasion of outsiders without exploring the complexity of what that means. So in our production we decided to give our wasps a voice, to hear their side of the story, and children have completely appreciated that. The style of the original book is beautifully messy and human and we wanted to capture that in our production, rather than sanitise it.”

The Giant Jam Sandwich is designed by Amy Jane Cook, with lighting by Mark Pritchard, sound by James Atherton and movement by Tom Dale.

The Giant Jam Sandwich is suitable for ages 3+.

Tickets: £12, £10 concessions. To book, call the box office on 020 7609 1800 or visit www.pleasance.co.uk/.

Time: Wednesday to Sunday at 2.30pm.

Running Time: 1 hour.