David Chafer, playing Peter Taylor in Red Ladder’s production of ‘The Damned United’, touring and Edinburgh Fringe 2017


We caught up with Icon’s David Chafer to find out all the gossip on his latest role in ‘The Damned United’ which has had raving reviews so far. Here’s what he had to say:



This is the first time I have worked at the Fringe, after 20 years of coming to the festival and soaking up the myriad of theatre, dance, music, comedy and cabaret that August in Edinburgh has to offer. I love it here, always have and especially this year!


This production of ‘The Damned United’ is a re-imagined version from the company’s original West Yorkshire premiere in 2016. Director Rod Dixon and writer Anders Lustgarten have judiciously trimmed the script to ensure we hit the hour-long version required by The Pleasance, as a result the universal view is that this version highlights more the relationships between Brian Clough (played by Luke Dickson) and his sidekick Taylor and Clough’s trials and tribulations with the numerous football club directors and coaches (played by Jamie Smelt). This is a great company and it’s brilliant to work with a group of Yorkshire based theatre-makers and actors – something very important to me and my own company The Melting Shop.



We were fortunate to have a number of performances pre Edinburgh, including a couple of gigs at Hibernian FC the weekend prior to our opening at the Fringe. It is certainly a play that appeals to football fans, particularly those of a certain age – like me – who remember the days of Clough and Taylor at Derby and Nottingham Forest. But what has also been interesting is that even for those with little or no knowledge of the beautiful game and these well-known figures, it has also appealed because the football and the story are the backdrop to the relationships between the characters: the highs and lows, the egos and power-brokering. Audience reaction has been overwhelmingly positive, with a number of sell-out shows in the 146-seat Pleasance Above venue. It helps when there are a smattering of four-star reviews to give the show further traction (apologies for the shameless bragging)!


Fringe life is pretty full on – our show has had two days off in the month – and ensuring that the show is up and ready in a 20-minute turnaround after the previous performance, including building walls, connecting projectors and setting props/costume etc, certainly concentrates the mind. Yes, the post-show fun is good, but pacing yourself is equally important! We are a tight company, with a similar sense of humour and we all enjoy a beer and good food. At times, life in the flat has resembled one of those TV family cooking shows – we’re thinking of applying.


Our Damned United journey does not end in Edinburgh, the show is set to tour again later this year, including a week at The Pleasance, Islington (13-18 Nov) and plans are being drawn up for a further tour in 2018. Back of the net!


If you can’t wait until November you can still catch David in action until Monday 28th August at the The Pleasance, Edinburgh. Get your tickets now before the sell out!