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Edinburgh Fringe interview: Actor Angus Castle-Doughty on untold gangster stories in Tobacco Road

Incognito Theatre Company, winners of the Les Enfant Terribles' 2018 Greenwich Partnership Award are back at the Edinburgh Fringe with a new piece Tobacco Road. Actor Angus Castle-Doughty talks about subverting the gangster genre with untold stories and gives his top tips for first-time Fringe attendees.

Angus Doughty - courtesy of Jacob Sacks-Jones
Angus Castle-Doughty. Photo by Jacob Sacks-Jones

What can the audience expect from Tobacco Road?

With Tobacco Road, we have worked really hard to make to make an exhilarating, cinematic experience for the audience. Storytelling is at the heart of our philosophy as a company and Tobacco Road follows the rise and fall of five young men and women in the gritty underworld of post-WW1 London.

We have tried to create a living, breathing world on stage that brings London in the 1920s to life and together with stunning physical sequences and an exciting story the audience will hopefully be left catching their breath.

Why should this story be told?

On the surface, Tobacco Road is a gangster story. However, we are also really interested in subverting audience expectation and exploring the stories that are otherwise left untold; we look at the epic strength and brutality of London’s Victorian Lady gangs and how they survived in such a male-dominated world.

We look at the effect the Great War had on the young men that were forced to come home and piece together their lives that had been otherwise shattered, before trying to carry on as normal. We look at the intensity of pressure that post-war masculinity placed on both young men and women alike in London.

Every physical sequence we do in Tobacco Road is to serve these stories and we are really excited to tell them.


Incognito Theatre Company - Tobacco Road (courtesy of Tim Hall Photography) (31)
Incognito Theatre Company - Tobacco Road. Photo: Tim Hall Photography

How are you preparing?

In December we started exploring Tobacco Road in a work-in-progress style performance evening. It was really helpful for us to have a couple of weeks before the end of the year to start playing around with any ideas in our heads and gain invaluable feedback from a live audience.

Over the past couple of weeks, we have been writing, rewriting, tweaking and building on all the work we did in December. It’s been brilliant being back in the room together; it’s all about creating and exploring ideas without pressure and having fun together!

You’ve been to Edinburgh Fringe before so...What's the best bit of advice you’ve been given?

Be brave, see everything you can and always have a falafel wrap from the Pleasance Courtyard.

...And the most important lesson?

Edinburgh can change your life and give you opportunities you’d never even considered. Open yourself up to all of them.

Incognito Theatre Company - Tobacco Road (courtesy of Tim Hall Photography) (39)
Incognito Theatre Company - Tobacco Road. Photo: Tim Hall Photography

Favourite Edinburgh Fringe anecdote?

In 2016, we used five soap crates in our adaptation of All Quiet On The Western Front. We had taken them out of the theatre to do a charity gala the night before and had forgotten to pick them back up.

It was only 5 minutes before the audience was due to be let in that we realised and so had to run out past the queue, grab the boxes from our flat and run back. It was embarrassing, but you had to laugh and it was a lovely, forgiving audience.

When you aren’t performing what are you most looking forward to seeing?

I always try my best to leave planning for when I’m up at the festival, however, our fellow Ex Young Pleasance companies will be sure to have fantastic shows.

There’s Clay Party’s production, Outside which is incredibly funny and Spies Like Us are back with two shows.

Incognito Theatre Company's Tobacco Road is at the Pleasance Courtyard (Upstairs) from 1-27 August (excluding 14th) at 15.15 pm and is 60 minutes long. For more details and to book tickets head to the Pleasance website.

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