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On from 25 Apr 2012 till 26 May 2012
Arcola Theatre
by Manfred Karge
Genre(s): Drama, Comedy, Classic

Tickets: £12 - £18 - (£12 preview performances 25, 26, 27, 28 April)


London youth – out of work, on the dole, spending too much time in their flat, going on epic journeys of the imagination and hoping for the best.

Manfred Karge's The Conquest of the South Pole has its first major revival in the UK since the original helped launch the careers of Ewen Bremner and Alan Cumming. Original Director Stephen Unwin returns to direct the next generation in this landmark piece.

Along with the discovery of Tom Stoppard and Theatre de Complicite winning the Perrier award in 1985 – the Guardian's Lyn Gardner considers Manfre Karge's The Conquest of the South Pole one of Edinburgh Festival Fringe's great discoveries.


FOUR STARS Time Out, Caroline McGinn

The good news is that Karge's surreal, colourful short play, in which the gang divert themselves from despair with an imaginary polar escapade, is one of the least depressing plays ever written about joblessness and it will be a shocking injustice if any of Unwin's gifted new cast find themselves on Jobseeker's Allowance any time soon. Unwin's vivid show conquers the audience as well as the Pole … warm, funny collective moments like this are what you live in hope of – and not only in the theatre.

FOUR STARS The Guardian, Lyn Gardner

Karge’s drama…vivid, achingly alive – it could be set in the here and now – seems the right play at the right moment. A scrupulously acted production.

FOUR STARS Whatsonstage, Emma Watkins

All four are convincing and their well-pitched energy extracts plenty of comedy from the text. Linguistic styles varying from street to puns to semi-verse are used to good rhythmic and atmospheric effect and the techno music covering the scene changes helps to maintain a gritty yet upbeat tone throughout the 90 minutes….a snappy and humorous show.

FOUR STARS Spoonfed, Naima Khan

They pitch tents, they cook food, they get supplies, they read the manual and do the maths but without Slupianek – brilliantly brought to life with the energy, wit and presence of Mercutio by O-T Fagbenle – they'd be at a loss. But beyond this attic where these men can be successful on their own terms, there is a world of unemployment and hardship tellingly inhabited by the wife of Braukmann (Sam Crane), one of Slupianek's comrades. La Braukmann (Emma Cunniffe) has tales of endless chip fat and feeding the guzzling amidst the grime in one of the most evocative, poetic scenes of the night.

THREE STARS Evening Standard and The Times

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