The birth of a new fringe theatre company is always cause for celebration, and Little Creatures currently have their debut production, Road to Nowhere, about to open at the Bread and Roses Theatre in Clapham. The company is set up by Jonathan Waifisz and Molly Marsh (aka Molly Martian), writer and director respectiovely of the new show.
I asked Molly to tell me a bit more.
Tell me about the new company Little Creatures. What prompted the two of you to set this up?
Jonny and I have been friends since university, and worked on plays together back then. I cast him in the first play I ever wrote and directed, and he cast me in the first play he ever wrote and directed, so we’ve had an “I’ll scratch your back…” relationship right from the start.
Over lockdown, I lived in North East London and Jonny lived in South East, but he would regularly cycle up to see me and we’d go on walks around the park together. It was on one of these walks that he first told me about the idea for his new play Road to Nowhere – he’d thought of it on the cycle over. I really thought it had some legs, and he got to work on it, occasionally giving me the odd update.
In June last year, we moved in together, and that was when we started to think seriously about putting the play on. We called up a few old pals from university and did a test read-through to see how the script sounded, and were really chuffed with how it went.
Brilliantly, all of the wonderful people from this test read-through agreed to be in the play, so we went ahead and sought out a venue and entered production. The idea that we were now a theatre company then occurred to us, and we gave ourselves a name – Little Creatures (in homage to the Talking Heads album of the same name).
Road to Nowhere, your debut production is coming to the Bread and Roses in Clapham. It sounds like a quirky, queer road trip piece – tell me more!
We’re so excited about it. As I said above, it’s Jonny’s script, and I’ve directed it. To say it’s semi-autobiographical on his part might be too strong, but he’s definitely written what he knows, and to fantastic effect.
It’s about a group of five struggling filmmakers who live together and have started to wonder whether there’s a real future for them in the arts. When lockdown hits, Josh – the most reckless of the group – decides they should all go to reconnect with their one successful university friend, Ian Darlington, who is now a famous film director living in Paris. The play is the story of what happens next.
There’s definitely a bit of ourselves in there – I think all artists at our level sometimes have angst about chasing the dream, and the play raises questions about why we make art and who we’re doing it for. It’s thought-provoking, it’ll hold a mirror up to the audience, and it’s very, very funny – and I can say that because I didn’t write it! It also includes a bright and diverse cast of characters – on a personal note, it’s been amazing to get to play a transgender character on stage.
One of the first things I noticed about Jonny’s script was that he’d captured a lot of how I feel about living as a queer person in the 2020s, and it’s been great to be a part of bringing that to life.The play also includes filmed segments at various points throughout, which represent movies made by the characters. We’ve put a bunch of work into these with a wonderful team of cinematographers and editors and I think they really elevate what’s happening on stage. I saw the finished cuts last week and they look fantastic.
It’s been quite a while since your Vault Festival show This Poo Shall Pass, which we featured at the time. Any plans to resurrect or further explore those themes?
It has! I loved doing This Poo Shall Pass – thanks for covering it! I would love to revive it, and in fact the producer Laura and I had plans to before the pandemic struck literally weeks after the show took place.
I definitely think there’s still a future for it, but I’d want to redevelop it properly before I put it on again, because I think there’s more that can be done with it. I also think I’d have more confidence now to lean into it being a full-blown standup comedy show.
So to answer your question: yes you will see something like This Poo Shall Pass from me again, but there are no concrete plans of any sort yet. [Read feature on this show here].
The queer writing space is so vibrant at the moment; have there been any highlights for you?
It is, and I’m sad that due to the pandemic I haven’t been able to experience more of it! It’s such a shame VAULT Festival had to be cancelled again this year, because there was so much amazing queer work on the cards.
My queer artist of the pandemic has been Mae Martin – her TV show Feel Good absolutely changed my life, and then I saw their standup show at Leicester Square Theatre a couple of months ago and it was equally great. Just biting, hilarious, powerful, amazing stuff.
What’s next for Molly and Jonathan?
Well! We have more dates of Road to Nowhere coming up at the Hope Theatre in June (19th and 20th) which is good news for all those people who’ve missed out on the February dates that sold out. Tickets will be on sale for that soon so do check our social media for the link.
Then beyond that, I’m working on a script that the two of us are looking to develop together as the second Little Creatures production. I won’t reveal too much yet but it’s a bit of a bonkers idea that combines music, science fiction, and an examination of the transgender experience!