Edinburgh Fringe 2010
Venue: The Space at Venue 45
Festival: Edinburgh Fringe
The play deals in a very personal and first hand way with illegal child-trafficking from Nigeria.Brought to the UK illegally, Tola has consequently no documentation, so the blind bureaucracy of the Home Office ignores his pleas and tries to repatriate him. A Good Samaritan English woman befriends him and fights his cause so he can take advantage of an offer of a university place and lead a new life. Does she succeed or is she beaten by bureaucracy? Are we ignorant or indifferent to the fate of these many trasgic youngsters at the mercy of wicked men and women?
TUNDE (LOST BOY) is ‘core fringe’. A passionate group of 6th Formers on a quest to challenge and to inform: and they succeed with honours. Oh yes, there is a place too, I suppose, for the smart boys to try out their pre-West End or National Tour Shows on the cheap, seeking street-cred, and the discovery of their show as they ‘slum it on the fringe’ – but that’s not my idea of the spirit that once sparked off the Ed Fringe phenomenon. The Fringe started in the spirit of challenge " We want to say what we want to say and how and when we want to say it"- so similar to the great Avant Guard Movement across Europe at the turn of the 19th/20th Centuries.
In TUNDE (LOST BOY) Home Office bureaucracy is challenged, our ignorance is dispelled and our indifference is shamed. We are stopped in our comfortable tracks by the sincerity and sheer passion of this cast of 6th Formers. Tola’s "Sweet Mother, Sweet Mother…" reduced me to tears. The play was written and devised by Dominic Corey and Christopher Lancaster (teachers at Park View Comprehensive, Tottenham – one of the most deprived areas in London) and is based on the plight of a former pupil. Befriended by a white ‘good Samaritan’ in the area, the boy was rescued by her sheer persistence and saved from deportation – because , having been illegally trafficked in the first place, he had no ID. he didn’t exist, bureaucratically speaking. As a result of her refusal to accept that lad got through university and is now working as a junior animator (his dream) in the film industry.
The play is based on this which was uncovered by the BBC. This in my opinion is what Fringe is about – not a stand-up platform for celebrity-seeking individuals many of whom, in all honesty, have not an ounce of humour inside them – a lack for which they try to compensate to the guffawing groundlings with mouths full of ever unfunnier and more revolting obscenities. Of course , yes, it is great that the fringe is ‘open house for all’,but core fringe seeks to redress the bias away from commercial theatre, to thoughtful protest; away from the great and the good to the good and the un-noticed.
TUNDE (LOST BOY) should be noticed: for its passion an also for its content. It is important that this scandal of child- trafficking should be brought into the spotlight and that we should care and do something about it.
Don’t expect immaculate RADA voice-production but you can expect utterly heartfelt passion to come from these 6th form lips: sometimes the script is a little confusing at times – I wasn’t sure where the abuse was taking place, Africa or London, for instance: the doubling up (though well-handled all round by the cast ) could have been helped (in spite of a limited budget) by even additions or subtractions to costume).
The music score is helpful but inevitably it is a bare-bones production – and none the worse for that as the focus is on the acting which is so passionate and committed and the content which is so compelling. Well done indeed!