“Whether writing or directing it all comes from the same place – I tap the bruise – the feelings run.” Camden Fringe show Riot To Heaven is a deeply personal production for Dan Horrigan. The show’s writer/director tells us exactly why in the interview below. Have a read, then book your tickets!
Written by Dan Horrigan, the production runs at Tufnell Park venue Aces and Eights from 16-20 August 2019.
Meet reformed debt collectors on their way down from the gutters to the grave, rubbing shoulders with antique salesmen hiding out from their criminal past, as dyslexic cons receive love letters from the women they saved, whilst others are on the run from the love they swore they’d never take.
Riot To Heaven was previously staged at the 2018 Wandsworth Fringe, when it was described by London Theatre 1 as “a powerful piece of theatre” in its four-star review
In addition to writing Riot To Heaven, Horrigan also directs the production. The award-winning writer/director has previously worked on productions including If My Heart Were A Camera, All The World Such a Shame and Reprehensible Men 2 with his company Sky or the Bird. Thomas Barron, Ben Harlan, James Sobol Kelly and Alex Humes star in the show.
The 2019 Camden Fringe is packed with 300 show, each offering something different. Among the productions taking part are dark romance The Geminus, Shakespearean tragicomedy inspired by a Conservative politician Boris Rex, refugee tale The Net, tale of adultery Letting Go and Italian production The Last King of Porn.
Riot To Heaven runs at Aces & Eights, 156-158 Fortess Rd, Tufnell Park, London, NW5 2HP from 16 to 20 August with performances Friday to Tuesday at 8.30pm. Tickets are priced £6. CLICK HERE TO PURCHASE!
Dan Horrigan on Riot To Heaven
What inspired you to create Riot To Heaven?
These stories saved me and helped me fall in love again. They are love letters. They are told by men who believe in love though never had the advantages of being able to express it when it would have done the best. Not a mistake I advise if you can help it. They’re a collection of high octane stories about love as a transformative experience. It’s about getting into love and being ejected from it. Some of the gentlemen you’ll meet could be saved and some could be lost. That’s the risk we all take.
I knew I wanted an audience to experience the intensity of my own feelings at the time they were written and that they should be fashioned to make sense of all those hot feelings. I took on certain truths given to me by my lover and transformed them so as to make the reality work for us. You take the truth, you take a dose of imagination, you collide them and you have fiction – that’s truth in art. All the stories are really me taking on identities to overcome the competition and to make it work in a world where we get a second chance. We get love again.
You’ve both written and directed the piece. Do you have a preference for either?
Whether writing or directing it all comes from the same place – I tap the bruise – the feelings run. It’s not a masochistic process, in either case, it’s an enormous and sustaining pleasure. I can protect the feeling of writing and then I have the great pleasure of sharing the work with actors. It’s here that we can connect our imaginations. The actors have their own discerning sense of truthful storytelling. I believe in the power of the imagination and the ways in which we can get a story out are adroit. The work with the actors is rewarding because they trust my truth and that we can discover theirs and then we have the character. It’s about synthesis and moving our understanding further down the road.
Riot To Heaven ran at Wandsworth Fringe last year. Has it grown since then?
It was brilliantly directed and performed at Wandsworth Fringe with a fine cast who remain very dear to me and with lovely direction from Eleanor Felton who staged it like it was some sort of confessional for a real rogues gallery. Considering we were performing on the grounds of a Church it made complete sense!
What we have this time is more of a raconteuring approach. These guys need you to identify with them. They want to look down the barrel straight into your eyes and speak to your heart. Even if it breaks. I read somewhere that a good way to decide what you really want is to have a conversation sober and a conversation drunk. Considering we get five nights this time, I think we can take this so much further and really get to know what we want. When you come to see it, you’ll see what we mean. Aces & Eights has a cabaret-style set up so you get our guys on a raised stage with velvet curtains and you get your own table and chair. We expect you to be drunk enough to care.
How do you feel about staging it at Aces & Eights?
For years I lived up the road from Aces & Eights and it has been my post-show bolt hole many times. Many times I have had nights there with friends who mean the world to me. At Aces, there have been many words spoken from the heart and many shared pizzas. They have the best pizzas! I’ve had entire emotional trajectories mapped out by DJs there and bands. I moved from London two years ago and feel like I get a chance to mainline back into my old stomping ground for a week. It has all the perks you could wish for an aim for the heart, shoot from the hip, and mean what you say show.
What can audiences expect from the production?
You can expect reformed debt collectors on their way from the gutter to the grave, dyslexic cons and love letters from the women they saved, and antique dealers hiding out from the love they were forbidden – we’re talking about grifters on the run from romance. You can expect to ask yourself if you should be giving them your understanding and check yourself the day after to see if you got fooled. I promise you they are sincere. They sincerely love. Aw come on, you know they mean it…. Second chances are rarer than rocking horse manure, so book your ticket before we’re off to rob another town (which, seeing as we’re talking about it, is Faversham Fringe Sunday 25th August 8.30pm at The Limes). Love bravely and god willing you too shall be saved. Amen.
Full festival programme
For details on all 300+ shows in the 2019 Camden Fringe programme, visit the festival websiteClick here