FRINGE PREVIEW – Expectations (Pleasance)

4-22 August (not 16)
1240-1340, Pleasance Dome



Husband and wife Gary and Kristina Brändén Whitaker have produced and written Expectations based on their own experience of living with a disabled daughter with a rare chromosome disorder. In the play, two young couples are told that their unborn children will be disabled; we then follow them as they come to terms with this news, in a personal and insightful work which examines the choices they must face.

Kristina and Gary formed GEST (The Gothenburg English Speaking Theatre) in 2005, providing contemporary theatre in the English language to Sweden, and the company has met with success in several productions and tours in both countries.

Expectations stars Steve Marsh, best known as Big Cook Ben in Cbeebies’ Big Cook Little Cook. Steve cares passionately about children with disabilities, and his involvement in Expectations is as part of his ongoing work with the Make A Wish Foundation.

Promising to deal with an emotionally taut subject in a moving and witty way, Expectations will provide 70 minutes of thought-provoking and moving theatre at the Pleasance Dome this Fringe.

Kristina was kind enough to answer a few questions about the play and her Edinburgh experiences.

Tell us a little bit about your show – where’s it happening, what’s it about, why should people come to see it?

Expectations is based on my, and Gary’s true experience of living with a disabled daughter, which means it is particularly honest and heartfelt. It’s the tale of two couples, one English, one Swedish, both expecting a baby only to discover that their child will be born disabled.

It’s unusual to see this subject matter discussed on stage, and even though it is quite hard hitting it’s very funny too – because often it is humour that helps you through challenging situations!

We’ve staged it before in Gothenberg, Sweden, and at the Contact in Manchester, and it received rave reviews at both venues – let’s just hope Edinburgh follows suit!

What are you expecting from the Fringe?

Encountering crazy characters on the Royal Mile and rushing around madly trying to promote the play – and trying to see as many shows as possible!

It’s really important to us to raise awareness about the topical issues highlighted in the play, and we’d like the discussion around its subject matter to reach a wider audience. Raising the profile of the company will be a big bonus too!

And what are you hoping for?

We want the audience to leave feeling they have had a powerful and moving experience, and to go away questioning the levels of support available for parents of disabled children in this country.

We’d love the play to be seen more widely, and are hoping to develop relationships with London venues that will lead to a transfer for the play.

If money was no object, what publicity stunt would you do to promote your show?

A party political broadcast on behalf parents with disabled kids!

Who else are you planning or hoping to see?

So many things! I want to catch pretty much everything at the Traverse – Frantic Assembly (Beautiful Burnout) is a must.

What do you have planned after the Fringe?

We’re producing a new version of Cock by Mike Bartlett, the show that stormed the Royal Court earlier this year. We’re also planning to tour with Expectations.

Sum up your show in three words for us? Honest, witty, moving

You can order tickets for Expectations online at the Pleasance website.

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