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Wojtek: The Happy Warrior*****

A new imagining of Wojtek the bear, a Syrian Brown Bear who was enlisted into the Polish Army Corp during WW2. This time presented with a playful approach and live music. 

We get to know Wojtek’s history from the moment he was purchased from Persian tradesmen by a lost in a desert woman- Irena, till his last days in the Edinburgh Zoo.

All the seven members of the group alternate between playing Wojtek.  Attention should be paid to Glenn Tillin, former trainee at the Polish theatre Pieśn Kozła, as well as to, bestowed with an amazing voice, Jessica Anne Young and phenomenally talented – Christian Woolf.

Thanks to superb physical preparation, the actors skilfully turn into a bear, change the play’s settings as well as present fight scenes in slow motion. Utilizing objects such as Europe and Middle East maps, the performers demonstrate to the youngest (and that little bit older) audience how much effort it took the Polish soldiers to get from Siberia, through Egypt, to Scotland.

Polish audience may be a little surprised with the main music theme. It resembles Balkan folk music. Nevertheless, it doesn’t bother British, American, and, surprisingly, Canadian spectators, who, apparently, show great interest in the play. Many of those discover Wojtek’s and, by association, Polish history for the first time.   

With some great live performance, choreography and music, Wojtek: The Happy Warrior presented by The Quarter Too Ensemble is undoubtedly one of the hits of this year’s Fringe Festival.

6-30 August  (not 18)
12.15 (60mins)
Price: £11 (£9 concession); £30 Family

Book your tickets now: Universal Arts Studio 

Dorota Peszkowska
Translated by Anna Różańska
Foto: Benkin Photography