November 2011 to January 2012 | New Writing Season


by Sally Woodcock

Tuesday, 1 November – Saturday, 26 November 2011

The World Premiere

**** Four Stars WhatsOnStage
**** Four Stars Spoonfed
**** Four Stars Time Out
**** Four Stars Fringe Review

Nominated for OffWestEnd Awards for Best New Play and Best Director

Gareth Machin Nominated for Best Director for Fanta Orange at the Finborough


Fanta Orange by Sally Woodcock at the Finborough nominated for Best New Play

"Who do you think I am? Another clueless white woman turned up in Africa with her conscience-stricken hat on to save The African from famine, disease, earthquake, wind and fire whilst secretly revelling in her ability to retreat to the nearest luxury lodge when the going gets tough or the dysentery kicks in?"
"Yah. Pretty much."

Inspired by a real-life Amnesty International report, Fanta Orange is a playful and unexpected tale that gets under the skin of modern Africa.

Regina is a Kenyan house servant. Roger is her white farmer boss. The two share a curious bond. Enter Ronnie, a privileged young English girl whom Roger discovers holed up in the bush, studying the bizarre practice of dirt-eating among local tribes. Soon both women are pregnant and a saga unfolds which turns every racial and sexual preconception on its head.


Playwright Sally Woodcock was raised in Kenya and educated at Cambridge University, RADA and Kings College London. Woodcock has worked as a journalist, teacher and theatre practitioner, writing and producing comedies (Wedding Belles and The Trouser Department ) on the fringes of Edinburgh (The Gilded Balloon, Hill Street Theatre), London (Jermyn Street Theatre, Bridewell Theatre) and New York (78th St Theatre Lab). Woodcock also co-founded the Horseshoe Theatre Company which produced play texts for public exam students at theatres in Cambridge. Fanta Orange is Woodcock's first full-length play and has been developed at RADA and the National Theatre Studio.


Director Gareth Machin is Studio Associate at the National Theatre where he has directed Caryl Churchill's Three More Sleepless Nights in the Lyttelton Theatre. He was previously Artistic Director of Southwark Playhouse where his productions included Chris Chibnall's Gaffer and Arthur Miller's The Archbishop's Ceiling. As Associate Director at Bristol Old Vic, his productions included major revivals of Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? with Clare Higgins and Gerard Murphy, Look Back in Anger with Nick Moran, many new plays in the New Vic Studio and establishing the Basement Theatre as a regular lunchtime and late night producing venue. He also co-directed the site-specific epic Up The Feeder Down the Mouth and Back Again in Bristol Docks.


Designer Alex Marker has been Resident Designer of the Finborough Theatre since 2002 where his designs have included Charlie's Wake, The Women's War, How I Got That Story, Soldiers, Happy Family, Trelawny of the 'Wells', Hortensia and the Museum of Dreams, Albert's Boy, Lark Rise To Candleford, Red Night, The Representative, Eden's Empire, Love Child, Little Madam, Plague Over England, and its West End transfer to the Duchess Theatre, Hangover Square, Sons of York, Untitled, Painting A Wall, Death of Long Pig, Molière or The League of Hypocrites and Dream of the Dog and its West End transfer to the Trafalgar Studios. His work has been extensively featured in exhibitions, most recently as part of the Collaborators: UK Design for Performance in Nottingham.


Jessica Ellerby. At the Finborough Theatre, Jessica appeared in Oohrah! (2009). Trained at Bristol Old Vic Theatre School. Theatre includes Dreamboats and Petticoats (Playhouse Theatre), Curvature, Word:Play 2 (Theatre503), Captain of the School Football Team (Latitude Festival and Theatre503), Dick Whittington (Theatre Chipping Norton), Triptych (Southwark Playhouse), Push Up (Rosemary Branch Theatre) and My Name Is Alice (Edinburgh Festival). Film includes Magpie, Hollow, Get Him To The Greek and The Sad Case. Television includes EastEnders and The Bill.

Kehinde Fadipe. At the Finborough Theatre, Kehinde appeared in Hurried Steps (2009) and And I And Silence as part of Vibrant – An Anniversary Festival of Finborough Playwrights (2010). Trained at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art. Theatre includes Ruined (Almeida Theatre) and Auricular (Theatre503). Workshops include Houseboy (Tiata Fahodzi), Mephisto (MJE Productions) and Eclipsed (National Theatre Studio). Television includes Misfits and The Body Farm. Short Film includes Of Mary.

Jay Villiers. Theatre includes In Praise Of Love (Theatre Royal, Northampton), A Midsummer Night's Dream, Hamlet and Much Ado About Nothing (The Tobacco Factory) Gone To Earth (Shared Experience, Lyric Hammersmith and Tour), Barbarians, The Taming Of The Shrew and Dead Funny (Salisbury Playhouse), Betrayal and The Browning Version (Bristol Old Vic), Arcadia, Mansfield Park and The Admirable Crichton (Chichester Festival Theatre), Six Degrees Of Separation (Crucible Theatre, Sheffield), Hamlet, As You Like It and Much Ado About Nothing (Renaissance Theatre Company), Ting Tang Mine, Fathers And Sons and Six Characters In Search Of An Author (National Theatre) and Richard III (Royal Shakespeare Company). Film includes The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel, The Lady, Before The Rain, Decameron and Henry V. Television includes Extras, Absolute Power, Lewis, Heartbeat, Midsomer Murders, Spooks, Silent Witness, The Government Inspector, Monsignor Renard, McCallum, The Sculptress, Black Hearts In Battersea, Rumpole, Lipstick On Your Collar, The Young Indiana Jones Chronicles and Miss Marple.


**** Four Stars WhatsOnStage
**** Four Stars Spoonfed
**** Four Stars Time Out
**** Four Stars Fringe Review

“Spendidly provocative stuff.” Andrzej Lukowski, Time Out

“Bold and believable.” Naima Khan, Spoonfed

“This is great theatre...disturbs and satisfies in equal measure.’’ Carmel Doohan, WhatsOnStage

“A powerful and striking production.” Chris Hislop, FringeReview

“A very impressive production, fast paced, engrossing, with a splendid cast and intelligent and witty dialogue.” Carolin Kopplin, UKTheatreNetwork

“A tour-de-force for all involved. Alex Marker's design is incredible, seemingly expanding the intimate Finborough into a Nigerian plain with beautiful salt-texture watercolour backdrops, evocatively lit by Neill Brinkworth's strongly naturalistic lighting design. Gareth Machin uses Tom Gibbons' lovely African-drum inspired sound design to transition quickly between scenes, which are succintly and snappily directed." Chris Hislop, FringeReview

“Woodcock's writing is daring, assured and often stingingly funny.” Andrzej Lukowski Time Out

“Rich, enjoyable and powerful writing.” Carmel Doohan, WhatsOnStage

“Barnstorming promise. Here is a play that manages to be truly epic in scope with only three characters onstage; a play packed with really potent, purposeful metaphors that contains at least one scene that could rival Bond’s baby-stoning for firebranding. As debuts go, I’d place it right alongside Polly Stenham’s That Face and Andrew Sheridan’s Winterlong for sheer guttural gutsiness.” Matt Trueman, Culture Wars

“Villiers and Ellerby are superb.” Andrzej Lukowski Time Out

“Jessica Ellerby is a vivid, agile Ronnie, while Kehinde Fadipe invests Regina with stillness and dignity.” Henry Hitchings, London Evening Standard

“Kehinde Fadipe brings a quiet grace to Regina.” Natasha Tripney, The Stage

All three performers excel in their roles (particularly in their accent work), although special mention must be given to Kehinde Fadipe for her powerful and truthful portrayal of Regina.” Chris Hislop, FringeReview

“The cast deliver performances of depth and range.” Carmel Doohan, WhatsOnStage

“Gareth Machin's flawless direction.” Naima Khan, Spoonfed

“Unexpectedly playful...Gareth Machin’s production is taut and strongly performed” Sarah Hemming, Financial Times

“Alex Marker's remarkable sweeping set design.” Naima Khan, Spoonfed

“Neill Brinkworth's perfect lighting takes us seamlessly from bright mornings to tense nights.” Naima Khan, Spoonfed

“This is an excellent beginning to the Finborough's New Writing Season – one can only hope the following pieces are of a similar quality.” Chris Hislop, FringeReview


"Woodcock is master of the comic monologue" The Scotsman

"Woodcock's attention to detail is both subtle and delicious" The Stage

"Great comic material" The Village Voice


"Fifty minutes of glittering perspicuity, taut as a tourniquet." **** Four Stars, Time Out on Three More Sleepless Nights (National Theatre)

"One of the most spectacular sights we'll see in British theatre this decade" **** Four Stars The Guardian on Up The Feeder Down the Mouth and Back Again (Bristol Old Vic)

"With his scrupulous care for the minutiae, Gareth Machin is developing a niche for himself as a crafter of precision work in which the director's hand is almost invisible, yet absolutely crucial. This staging has not a hair out of place."

The Independent on Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? (Bristol Old Vic)


Tuesday, 1 November – Saturday, 26 November 2011

Tuesday to Saturday Evenings at 7.30pm.
Sunday Matinees at 3.00pm.
Saturday Matinees 3.00pm (from 12 November 2011).

Performance length: Approximately two hours.

1 November–13 November 2011

Tickets £13, £9 concessions

except Tuesday Evenings £9 all seats, and Saturday evenings £13 all seats.
Previews (1 and 2 November) £9 all seats.

£5 tickets for Under 30’s for performances from Tuesday to Sunday of the first week when booked online only.

£10 tickets for residents of the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea on Saturday, 5 March 2011 when booked online only.

15 November–26 November 2011

Tickets £15, £11 concessions

except Tuesday Evenings £11 all seats, and Saturday evenings £15 all seats. 

For details of our Returns Policy for sold out performances, please click here



Written by Sally Woodcock

Directed by Gareth Machin

Designed by Alex Marker

Lighting by Neill Brinkworth

Sound by Tom Gibbons

Presented by Lucy Jackson for Nusu Nusu Productions in association with Neil McPherson for the Finborough Theatre.