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Echoes - Arcola Theatre

Preview by Lizzie Guilfoyle

FOLLOWING a critically acclaimed season at this year’s Edinburgh Festival Fringe, Fringe First Award-winning playwright, Henry Naylor, is presenting the London premiere of his new play Echoes at the Arcola Theatre.

Echoes, in which Naylor finds surprising similarities between the Islamist adventurers of today and early Victorian pioneers, runs from Monday, November 16 to Saturday, November 21, 2015.

Presented as a pair of intercut monologues, Echoes tells the stories of two women, born 175 years apart. One is a student jihadi from London – the other a Victorian member of the Fishing Fleet (the women who travelled to India to be brides of those men who were setting up the Empire).

Both are idealists: intelligent adventurers, with strong religious beliefs. Both travel to the East with a mission to impose a system of government upon an unwilling people. The Victorian would play a leading role in the establishment of the Empire; the jihadi, a caliphate…

Echoes is a provocative and brutal tale of colonialism, and the rhyme of history.

Henry Naylor has suddenly started writing hard-hitting drama, after having previously been a specialist comedian. He was previously best-known for his comedy work with Andy Parsons, with whom he presented nine series of Parsons and Naylor’s Pull-Out Sections on Radio 2. He’s also been a prolific satirist for TV having been the lead writer on Spitting Image, and having written for Alistair MacGowan, Rory Bremner and Dead Ringers, among others.

In 2014, he wrote his first straight play, The Collector, which explored the issue of prisoner abuses during the Western occupation of Iraq, and questioned how essentially decent people became brutalized by war. The play won the coveted Fringe First Award, and subsequently collected many four and five-star reviews during its run. The Collector went on to play a sell-out season at the Arcola Theatre.

Tickets: £12, £10 concessions (2-4-1 offers available on Monday, Tuesday and Saturday matinee). To book, call the box office on 020 7503 1646 or visit

Time: 8pm, plus Saturday matinee at 3pm.

Also at the Arcola: Clarion, starring Clare Higgins and Greg Hicks (October 20 November 14) and Sarai, an epic journey of one woman’s unswerving determination to overcome adversity and become the founder of a new nation (October 21 to November 7, 2015).