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Wednesday, 23 November 2016

Fire & Phoenix

"In this captivating drama, playwright Kate Glover has brought back the time and place, capturing not only the immensity of the event, but also the sometimes shocking human dramas it produced ... The company of 8 talented actors essay a total of 18 characters, a complex director’s juggling act, expertly handled ... The sparingly used, but threatening sound of the fire was a leitmotif I found very powerful. Beautifully costumed and lit, and with some lovely artwork by Sharon Lovett Lampi on the backcloth, the company are to be congratulated on this showing. It augurs well for their onward itinerary which includes the ‘fire churches’, surely to be one of the events of the season." (Saul Reichlin)

Fire & Phoenix is at St Stephen Walbrook on Wednesday 23 November, 7.30pm. Tickets £15 (£12 concessions) available on the door.

Fire & Phoenix is a new play to mark the 350th anniversary of the Great Fire of London. The play opens in the bakery of Thomas Farynor, King's Baker, just before midnight on 1 September 1666. It's a swelteringly hot night. There has been no rain for months. Thomas assures his daughter that he has checked the fires...

The fire starts within hours; for three days it rages terrifyingly, helped by a ferocious East wind. Lord Mayor Bludworth is useless. Samuel Pepys takes practical measures, and liaises with the King, Charles II. The people lose everything and camp out at Moorfields. Foreigners and 'papists' are blamed for the fire and so are ferociously attacked. People are hysterical. St Paul's burns: a vision of Hell.

A Frenchman is hanged for starting the fire, but was he really guilty? What about Farynor? Pepys has his suspicions...

Despite the toll of 89 churches, 1300 houses and 200,000 people made homeless, Christopher Wren, in a moving final scene with Pepys, has a strong sense of hope, and believes that London, like the Phoenix, will rise from the ashes.

Historia Theatre Company is Registered Charity 1099807, founded in 2003 to put on plays that have their source in or inspiration from history. Previous productions include Evelina (2004), Five Eleven (2005), An African’s Blood (2007-8), Judenfrei: Love and Death in Hitler’s Germany (2010-11), The Sound of Breaking Glass (2012-13), Queen Anne (2014), Magna Carta (2015).


Ralph McTell - Streets of London.

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