Four Grist to the Mill shows to open at Buxton Fringe

Steve Orme

Grist to the Mill Productions, which has championed new writing since 2012, will present a number of shows at the new Rotunda Theatre during Buxton Festival Fringe.

The Unknown Soldier is a “thought-provoking, moving, and even humorous” solo piece that looks at World War I from a new perspective, through the eyes of a man who has survived the carnage but remains, like many, to help build the great cemeteries.

It is a “story of the deep friendship that can be found only between those who fight together, of the betrayal felt by them at the end of the war, and of a world that changed so much it became unrecognisable”.

In 2016, The Unknown Soldier had a sell-out run at the Edinburgh Fringe. Writer and performer Ross Ericson said, “I knew we had a good production but I never dreamt that we would see such critical acclaim and sell out virtually every night over 25 performances—especially at the Edinburgh Fringe where competition is so fierce.”

The Unknown Soldier runs at The Rotunda Theatre, Buxton on Wednesday and Friday, 5 and 7 July, and Sunday 16 July at 6PM, and Thursday 6 July at 3 and 6PM.

I Found My Horn, adapted from arts journalist Jasper Rees’s book, is a play with music which has toured since its première in 2008.

It is the “funny and uplifting tale” of Jasper who wakes up at 40 to a broken marriage, no job and a beckoning bedsit. He suddenly realises he has done nothing memorable in his life. As he clears out the attic, he discovers the French horn he played as a teenager. Inspired by the find, he recklessly sets himself a challenge: to perform a Mozart horn concerto in front of an audience of 400 horn enthusiasts.

Jonathan Guy Lewis plays Jasper. He is known for his appearances in ITV’s London's Burning, Soldier Soldier and Coronation Street.

His stage credits include Aaron Sorkin’s A Few Good Men, An Inspector Calls by J B Priestley and Henrik Ibsen’s Peer Gynt at the National Theatre. He also wrote the play Our Boys which ran at the Duchess Theatre in the West End in 2012.

I Found My Horn runs at the Rotunda Theatre on Friday 7 July at 3 and 7:30PM and on Saturday 8 July, also at 7:30PM.

Ross Ericson’s new play The Empress and Me is the true story of Lizzie Yu, daughter to a Chinese diplomat and raised in France, who became a princess and lady-in-waiting to the infamous Empress Dowager Cixi of China during the 1900s.

It plays in the Rotunda Theatre on Sunday 9 July and from Wednesday until Friday, 19 to 21 July at 6PM, Wednesday until Friday, 12 to 14 July at 1:30PM and Thursday 20 July at 3PM.

Gratiano is a “provocative” sequel to Shakespeare’s The Merchant of Venice. Bassanio has been murdered and, under suspicion, Gratiano is forced to revisit his Fascist past. He was never the hero—just a minor character, the plucky comic relief—but he never thought he played the villain.

Gratiano explores the politics of prejudice in the 20th century. It examines the nature of the characters and asks how Mussolini managed to use democracy to turn a people against themselves.

It runs in the Rotunda Theatre on Sunday 9 July at 7:30PM, Wednesday 12 July at 3 and 6PM and Thursday and Friday, 13 and 14 July at 6PM.