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Fringe Festival darlings head home with Rémy

By Lincolnshire Echo  |  Posted: February 14, 2013

Come home: Written and performed by Claire Gaydon, Rémy is the tale of an unlikely soldier and his hero, Napoleon Bonaparte

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From Lincoln to the Edinburgh Fringe, then onto London and now heading home, Everything I Own will present their debut of Rémy in the city, a one woman play, on February 21-23.

Written and performed by Claire Gaydon, and produced by Caitlin Agnew, Rémy is the tale of an unlikely soldier and his national hero, Napoleon Bonaparte.

"This is the story of a 30-something Frenchman in an English prison cell," says Lincoln-born Claire Gaydon, who founded Everything I Own locally.

"Lincoln has always been very special to me. As a teenager I was involved in pretty much every drama organisation including CAODS, DCT production and New Youth Theatre. After graduating from East 15 Acting School in London I returned to Lincoln to work for Zest Theatre and performed on their Lincolnshire/Leicestershire tour of the hugely successful show Until It's Gone.

"I began writing and devising Rémy at drama school.

"I was reading a book by Jeanette Winterson called The Passion which is set in two different places. One half is set in France during the Napoleonic Wars and is the story of a soldier. The other story is of a woman in Venice. I didn't know anything about the Napoleonic Wars before I read it and I became very interested in the period, particularly the character of Napoleon.

"Whether you think of Napoleon Bonaparte as a tyrant or a saviour, he had such a massive impact on the world and Europe. I wanted to look at how that could have influenced just one boy."

After Rémy encounters the horrors of war, he eventually finds himself alone in his prison cell, playfully exploring his dreams, horrors, friendships and experiences of love through puppetry, storytelling and song. Inspired by his vivid imagination Rémy manipulates the ordinary objects in his cell to become the people and places who have shaped his past.

As a victim of a dictator's charisma, power and ultimate abandonment, Rémy is a testament to the destructive power of hero worship.

"I always knew I wanted to create my own work and after visiting the 2011 Edinburgh Fringe Festival I was determined to perform there the following year," says Claire. "In January 2012 I founded the company, comprising myself and friend and producer Caitlin Agnew.

"We took Rémy to the Fringe where it received four star reviews and caught the attention of London programmers. During its transfer to Arcola Theatre, London in December, Rémy continued to receive four star reviews.

"For me, the central theme of the play is hope. There's also more comedy in it now than there originally was. I think it really suits the play, because it's dealing with upsetting themes it's nice to have that release for the audience to enjoy. And I do think people are finding it very funny. In fact at the Arcola Theatre I was quite blown away by how funny people found it. Audiences have also said they've found the play enchanting and magical, whilst others have described it as a wonderful story.

"I am now absolutely thrilled to be bringing Rémy to my home town, and to one my favourite art venues, Lincoln Drill Hall."

Show times: 6pm and 7pm. The Room Upstairs, Lincoln Drill Hall. Tickets £7. Box office: 01522 873894, www.lincolndrillhall.com

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