The Flea


ISBN: 9781839042768
Author: By James Fritz
Publication Date: 19/10/2023
Publisher: Nick Hern Books
Extent: 120pp.
Availability: Available


‘We’ll start with the flea, because that’s as good a place as any…’

July 1889, London. A flea bites a rat. A rat spooks a horse. A horse kicks a man. As the chain reaction continues, a boy and his mother find themselves swept up in a national scandal that will reshape both their lives – and the country.

James Fritz’s play The Flea is a retelling of the Cleveland Street Scandal that shook England – from the streets of Bermondsey to the halls of Buckingham Palace – and features a flea, a horse, a detective, a queen, a pimp, a god, and Charlie, the telegraph boy who knelt before the Crown.

This anarchic and affecting play was first performed at The Yard Theatre, London, in October 2023, directed by Artistic Director Jay Miller.

‘There are few playwrights working in Britain today whose work is as slick and unsettling as James Fritz’s’ Exeunt

‘Fritz’s work pairs structural playfulness with emotional intelligence and inky wit… his plays are contained and compassionate, and frequently find reservoirs of humour in places you wouldn’t expect’ The Stage

‘Gloriously anarchic… a coked-up joyride of a satire which not so much pokes fun at, but hacks and slashes hierarchical English society to shreds… a bona fide blast’
Broadway World

‘Exuberant in its ambition… The story provides rich pickings for James Fritz, one the UK’s most interesting playwrights’

‘Wildly imaginative… a gleeful, dressing-up box takedown of the hypocrisies and privileges of the wealthy… a wildly entertaining tale that also lands some serious points about institutional corruption, abuse and impossible choices’
The Stage

‘Absurdly funny… a unique piece of satirical Queer Victoriana’
Theatre Weekly

‘A rollicking script… rambunctiously good… has an originality and rawness that compels… ambitious, imaginative, and unashamedly unfettered by convention’

‘Mischievous, searching, gloriously surreal… Fritz [is] certainly one the most boundary-pushing playwrights of today… a riotous, quirky ride’
Time Out

‘A triumph… delivers everything you would expect from a period drama, and a lot of absurd and stylish things that you wouldn’t… Sensitively conceived but hilarious, The Flea offers its audience a good laugh and a punch to the stomach’
Reviews Hub

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