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Historical folk drama at Wilton’s Music Hall ‘makes you realise what’s important’

Father Nandru 2 Father Nandru 2

Friday, March 14, 2014
11:30 AM

A striking full scale production arrives at Wilton‘s Music Hall on March 18 from award-winning playwright Julian Garner.

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Father Nandru and the Wolves is set in rural Romania and harnesses the style of European folk drama.

Julian said the inspiration for the play came from historical events during the Ceaucescu regime, when plans to destroy villages for agricultural production tore apart thousands of communities.

He said one village saw its 500-year-old church dismantled and buried but the congregation continued to meet and worship there.

Echoes of this community feature in the play’s central character – a priest, Father Nandru – who is tasked with keeping peace amid societal tensions.

Julian said: “He is in some ways quite shambolic. He drinks a bit too much and people are a bit contemptuous of him as he doesn’t seem very together.

“He is dealing with the conflict between the Roma and the Romanians and it’s worn him out.”

Nandru in Romanian means “ardent for peace” and when the father has a vision of his village’s demise, the community must come together to change it.

The spirit-like wolves in the story appear to Father Nandru in this crucial time to give advice, again evocative of the Transylvanian landscape.

The play, which is told entirely in rhyming verse, promises to be a sensory feast with larger than life puppetry and a live Gyspy music score befitting of the venue.

Julian said: “It is exciting, accessible and entertaining with lots of music and dance, and this idea of what happens if your community is threatened – it makes you think about what is important to you.

“While I have been absorbed by folk drama, I have seen lots of crossovers and the same images and symbols reflect in lots of communities.

“It is a really universal, very inclusive story.”

Father Nandru and the Wolves runs from March 18 to April 18 at the Graces Alley theatre.

Post-show live music will be performed on Friday and Saturday evenings and Eastern European food will be served every evening from 6pm.

Tickets are £13 to £25. Call 020 7702 2789 to book.

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