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Romford actor stars in 'thought provoking play' about war and home at Stratford theatre

PUBLISHED: 15:00 17 January 2019

Kieton Saunders-Browne and Jonnie Riordan in The Unreturning at Stratford Theatre. Photo: Tristam Kenton

Kieton Saunders-Browne and Jonnie Riordan in The Unreturning at Stratford Theatre. Photo: Tristam Kenton

©Tristram Kenton

An actor from Romford stars in an emotional play about the difficulties soldiers and refugees experience when returning home from war.

Jonnie Riordon  from Romford, is starring in Frantic Assembly’s The Unreturning, which visits Theatre Royal Stratford East. Photo: Tristam KentonJonnie Riordon from Romford, is starring in Frantic Assembly’s The Unreturning, which visits Theatre Royal Stratford East. Photo: Tristam Kenton

Jonnie Riordan from Main Road, Romford plays the role of Nat in a compelling play by Anna Jordan, called The Unreturning.

In a British northern coastal town, three young men are coming home.

In 1918 George returns from the Western Front, in 2013 Frankie is back from his final tour of Afghanistan and in the not-too-distant future Nat returns from an overseas refugee camp to what was his hometown.

Jonnie told the Recorder: “It’s really clever how all of the stories interweave together.

Jonnie Riordon  from Romford, is starring in Frantic Assembly�s The Unreturning, which visits Theatre Royal Stratford East. Photo: Tristam KentonJonnie Riordon from Romford, is starring in Frantic Assembly�s The Unreturning, which visits Theatre Royal Stratford East. Photo: Tristam Kenton

“I play Nat who is from an imagined future in 2026. It’s a pretty bleak future.

“It’s quite easy for us on this side of the world to imagine what’s going on in places like Syria when really we have no way of knowing.”

Nat’s character has just been to a refugee camp in Norway and his journey is about trying to get back home to his family.

“It definitely makes you think about what it is for someone to be a refugee and the lack of understanding about soldiers coming back from war,” said Jonnie.

Jonnie Riordon  from Romford, is starring in Frantic Assembly’s The Unreturning, which visits Theatre Royal Stratford East. Photo: Tristam KentonJonnie Riordon from Romford, is starring in Frantic Assembly’s The Unreturning, which visits Theatre Royal Stratford East. Photo: Tristam Kenton

“The play is hugely visual. It’s an incredible and surprising set.

“It’s almost like you’re watching a Netflix drama, the way the story seamlessly moves between scenes and jumps forward and backward in time.

“There’s a lot of climbing and running - it’s very high energy.”

The Unreturning has been on a UK tour since September last year. Speaking about the feedback the show has received so far, Jonnie said, “It’s been brilliant.

“The play is such a thought provoking and moving piece.

“It’s the quickest hour and a half an audience will experience.”

The former Coopers Company and Coborn student hopes to perform in the borough at some point in the future.

He said: “Queen’s Theatre has a lot of exciting projects. I would love to be a part of the theatre scene in Havering.”

The Unreturning is playing at Theatre Royal Stratford East theatre until Saturday, February 2.

For tickets visit 
stratfordeast.com.

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