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Whines and Spirits comes to Hen and Chickens for Camden Fringe

PUBLISHED: 08:00 09 August 2017 | UPDATED: 13:42 09 August 2017

Whines and Spirits runs at the Hen and Chickens for Camden Fringe

Whines and Spirits runs at the Hen and Chickens for Camden Fringe

Archant

Whines and Spirits, a comedy drama written by Annie Burkin and starring Gary Hailes, follows a flamboyant clairvoyant whose evening goes awry when a divorced, deceased, bickering couple refuse to leave.

The Anna Scher Theatre was there at the start of the careers of many a household name: Naomie Harris, Kathy Burke, Reggie Yates, Gary and Martin Kemp to name a few.

Now two of the Islington school’s alumni are coming together in a new play at the Hen and Chickens Theatre for Camden Fringe.

Whines and Spirits, a comedy drama written by Annie Burkin and starring Gary Hailes, follows a flamboyant clairvoyant whose evening goes awry when a divorced, deceased, bickering couple refuse to leave.

But what inspired Burkin to write a play about clairvoyance?

“A friend is a clairvoyant, but I want to make the modern culture accessible to theatre land,” Burkin says. “I don’t actually think that [the clairvoyant’s] is the singularly relevant story. The deceased couple who want answers are more essential.”

“Whines and Spirits’ comical content is something that just immediately resonated with me,” says Hailes, known for his portrayal of Barry Clark in EastEnders. “I immediately thought it was one the best things I’ve read in a really long time.”

Hailes, who was born and raised in Archway, attending Holloway School, went to Anna Scher’s from the age of 10 until his early 20s, when he was cast in the soap.

“The thing about Anna’s was I never thought of myself as a student,” he says. “It was somewhere you went out of choice. It was a drama club, a social club, it was everything you wanted it to be.”

But what is it about Anna’s that makes such talented actors?

“Anna was just this amazing character who actually listened to you,” he says, “which as a kid is the best thing an adult can do. She took us seriously at the same time as teaching us. She’s a very, very special lady. Had I not gone, my life would have been completely different. I certainly wouldn’t have become a professional actor.”

Scher muses that “integration through improvisation” is key. Her school is famed for its students’ improvisation education, which instils “mutual respect and empathy” in their acting, according to the school’s core principles.

Whines and Spirits runs at the Hen and Chickens from August 14 to 20.

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