By Alan Davies
Sunday, September 8, 2013
A PLAY about Winston Churchill’s early years can be seen on stage at a Welwyn Garden City theatre this week.
WHEN you hear the name of Winston Churchill, the image which immediately springs to mind is of a large, balding man, probably with a cigar clamped between his teeth and a stern look on his face.
But this would be the Churchill of his later years, the wartime Prime Minister and elder statesman and – as a show coming to the Hawthorne Theatre on Wednesday, September 11 reveals – there was more to the man than that.
Experience the coming-of-age of Britain’s greatest hero in Winston On The Run, a new one-man play about Churchill’s little known early life.
It’s 1899 and the 24-year old Winston is approaching the 20th century with little to his name but a shambolically unsuccessful election campaign.
Neglected by his parents and a failure at school, Winston takes a job as a war correspondent and finds himself posted in South Africa, embroiled in the Boer War.
Less than a month later, he is an escaped prisoner-of-war, on the run in the vast South African savannah, taking cover at the bottom of a deep mineshaft.
With nothing but rats for company, the young Winston’s mind quickly sinks into paranoia and despair.
As the moment for a fresh break approaches, his sanity teeters on the brink. What will await him at the surface? Freedom or capture? Fame or disgrace? Triumph or disaster?
Actor Freddie Machin co-wrote the play to highlight the unknown side of someone everybody thinks they know.
The UK tour follows a successful run at the Edinburgh Fringe in 2012 and an award-winning performance at Buxton Fringe Festival in the same year, where Machin earned the ‘best actor’ prize.
A gripping story of adventure, audacity and Imperial folly, Winston on the Run shows a young Churchill confronted by both a dangerous enemy and his own ‘black-dog’ of depression.
In learning to never surrender, he began his ascent towards political greatness.
* Fol Espoir presents Winston On The Run, at the Hawthorne Theatre, in WGC, on Wednesday, September 11 at 7.30pm.
Tickets are free but there is a £2.50 administration charge.
Contact the Hawthorne Theatre box office on 01707 357117.