Robert Cohn
Trafalgar Studios
Directed by Alex Herlfrecht

FIESTA is based on one of the greatest novels of the twentieth century, Hemingway’s The Sun Also Rises. American writer Jake, is one of 'the lost generation' post WWI living a bohemian lifestyle in Paris in the 1920s, with fellow expat, novelist Robert, until the arrival of the irresistible Lady Brett Ashley throws their lives into turmoil.


“All of the performances are interestingly nuanced… The sexual web in which her ladyship entangles Gideon Turner (as Jake Barnes, the autobiographical bearded newspaperman with an addiction to bullfighting), Jack Holden’s dashing toreador Pedro and Jye Frasca (a hard-drinking writer named Robert) is, however, involvingly spun… Frasca – so good in Thrill Me and Jersey Boys – effortlessly switches, meanwhile, between the comedy and tragedy that his character brings to the proceedings... This is an intense, raw and compelling piece of theatre, which, with the youthful audiences that it is attracting, suggests to me that the Trafalgar Studios are going to be at the cutting edge this year. Certainly, with James McAvoy’s Macbeth opening this week, it is a venue that’s going to be very hard to ignore.” - The Sunday Telegraph, Tim Walker.

“Gideon Turner is a calm surface masking deep waters as Jake, left impotent and emotionally crippled by war injuries; Jye Frasca’s Cohn is a muscular bundle of misguided intentions; and an effortlessly engaging Josie Taylor finds the sadness in her cut-glass character’s thrill seeking. All three have good chemistry.” - Time Out, Tom Wicker.

“Gideon Turner as the newspaperman addicted to the power of the corrida, Jye Frasca as the pugilistic novelist and Jack Holden as the charismatic toreador, do all that is required of them.” - The Guardian, Michael Billington.

“As Jake, Gideon Turner exudes the apparent nonchalance of someone who believes he knows more than anybody else. As Lady Ashley, Josie Taylor is a perfect combination of wit and charm, with a terrible desperation evident just below the surface. With his bespectacled earnestness, Jye Frasca is well cast as the dupe of the piece and Jack Holden brings humour to the role of the matador. They all move beautifully during the more physical parts of this multi-faceted and enjoyable piece.” - The Stage, Nicholas Hamilton.

“The glamorous divorcée Lady Brett Ashley (Josie Taylor) from England has tracked down American journalist Jake Barnes (Gideon Turner) in Paris, where he is staying with his tennis partner Robert (Jye Frasca) - an irritating third wheel and perpetual outsider…. The uncomfortable mix of outward debauchery and repressed pain, typical of the generation who lived through the First World War, is rendered brilliantly by the three main actors… Fiesta is an exuberant play and an excellent adaptation.” - Broadway World, Becky Brewis.

“Josie Taylor’s Lady Brett Ashley brings out the fire in Gideon Turner's secretive, insular Jake and sparks an otherwise unseen passion in Jye Frasca's staid and previously smitten Robert… For all the soggy vests, passionate embraces and onstage rumpy, it's hard to choose the saddest character. Turner's reticent Jake has painful secrets buried deeper than a bull's horn in a drunken matador's bottom. Frasca's Robert has his dream of acceptance shattered like an unwanted wine glass tossed aside after it has been emptied. Josie Taylor brings an ancient hurt and heartbreaking longing to a woman whose esteem is shot and who must find male reassurance wherever she can. Jack Holden brings grace, naivety and boyish charm to the part of a young yet masterful matador.” - Official London Theatre, Matthew Amer.

“A WWI veteran, Jake is a budding sports reporter and his Jewish friend Robert is a novelist who is preparing for a wedding and neither are prepared for the love triangle that emerges with Brett’s arrival… Gideon Turner’s Jake, driven by his twin obsessions of the corrida and Lady Brett, is a stirring central presence and countered well by Jye Frasca’s more boyishly earnest Robert whose past career as a boxer lends him a prowling physicality. As Brett, Josie Taylor is a wonderfully free-spirited performance, unafraid of her sexual or intellectual power.” - The Public Reviews, Ian Foster.

“Jye Frasca, as Robert Cohn, came into his own at the end of the play, morphing from a comic character into someone made dangerous by a sense of his exclusion.” - The Cambridge Online, Hannah Greenstreet.

“Helfrecht's quartet of actors – perhaps the sexiest cast to currently be seen on a West End stage – nonetheless contribute striking, physical performances… Jye Frasca is strong as Robert, and nicely conveys the character's shift from earnestness to absurdity as he falls hard for Brett.” - One Stop Arts, Alex Ramon.

“a wonderful bold adaptation” - Mariel Hemingway