Borders by Henry Naylor

Gilded Balloon & Redbeard Theatre in assoc. with Holden Street Theatres present


About the show

Two artists from opposite worlds meet in an unlikely place - the middle of the Mediterranean Sea. It's 2017, and an ageing fishing boat is sinking fast, its occupants quickly abandoning ship. However, one young woman is panicking - she's six months pregnant, and can't swim.

Sebastian, an English photojournalist-turned-paparazzo, is sent to cover the Syrian refugee crisis for a well-known magazine. At the same time, an unnamed Syrian street artist is forced to flee the Assad regime after a dramatic change in her life.

Two worlds collide in the most heartbreaking and visceral of ways in 'Borders', the latest play by UK playwright Henry Naylor. Directed by Michael Cabot and Louise Skaaning, 'Borders' will challenge preconceived notions of the Syrian refugee crisis and Western responses (or lack of) to it, and explores art in its many forms.

Naylor continues his success from his previous Adelaide Fringe Festival seasons for his Arabian Nightmares trilogy - 2016's ‘Echoes’ and 2017's ‘Angel’. Winner of both the Best of Edinburgh and Fringe First awards, Borders received 21 five- and four-star reviews.


OVERALL WINNER: Adelaide Critics Circle Award

WINNER Adelaide Critics' Circle Award Week One Adelaide Fringe 2018

Praise for 'Borders by Henry Naylor' at Adelaide Fringe 2018

★★★★★ - The Advertiser

★★★★★ - Kryztoff RAW

★★★★★ - The Barefoot Review

★★★★★ - 5MBS

★★★★★ - Entertainment Hive

★★★★★ - Scenestr

★★★★★ - The Clothesline

★★★★1/2 - Adelaide Theatre Guide

★★★★1/2 -InDaily

★★★★1/2 - HI Fi Way: The Pop Chronicles

★★★★ - Fest Magazine

International Praise for Borders by Henry Naylor

"★★★★ A skillfully woven story of artistic integrity set against the Syrian civil war." - The Stage

"★★★★ Naylor’s name remains a mark of quality for those who like to see good political drama." - The Independent

"★★★★With clever humour hiding within the horrors of this new and current script, there is no doubt that Naylor has done it again." - Edinburgh Festivals Magazine

★★★★★ - Theatre Extra

★★★★★ - The Morning Star

★★★★ 1/2 - InDaily

★★★★ - The Scotsman

★★★★ - The Times

★★★★ - The Evening Standard

★★★★ - Fringe Guru

★★★★ - The Skinny

Adelaide Fringe 2018 News

Radio National's Michael Cathcart speaks with Henry Naylor and Avital Lvova - ABC Radio

★★★★★ 'For lightning to strike three times in succession is a rare thing indeed, but UK writer Henry Naylor follows his previous Fringe hits Echoes and Angel with another extraordinarily powerful chapter in his exploration of the Middle East.' - The Advertiser

★★★★★ 'Graham O’Mara and Avital Lvova are artists. Borders is artistry. Spectacular and spine-tingling.' - Kryztoff RAW

★★★★★ 'The tears on the faces of some audience members confirm that this has been a truly moving experience.' - The Clothesline

★★★★★ - The Barefoot Review

★★★★★ 'Compelling and enthralling drama' - 5MBS

★★★★★ 'In Borders we see the true power that art holds' - Entertainment Hive

★★★★1/2 'Anyone that loves an excellent play should go and see it' - Hi Fi Way: The Pop Chronicles

★★★★1/2 'Pure, raw theatre that smashes through our mental borders and beckons us into a new world of understanding.' - InDaily

'...the build up to the climax is a joy to behold with two actors showing us how it’s done.' - Australian Stage

'Henry Naylor’s powerful Arabian Nightmares series is an Edinburgh Fringe-First Award winner that explores the Syrian refugee crisis.' -The Adelaide Review

'Naylor is known for twisting comedy into his more serious works, and Borders is no exception.' - In Daily

'Borders is sure to lend the same blend of boldness and subtlety to its exploration of refugees and the Syria crisis.' - Fest

'Henry Naylor's latest Arabian Nightmare moves beyond borders' - The Adelaide Review

'If every Australian saw this piece, the walls around our continent and our hearts would inevitably collapse.' - Scenestr

'Naylor’s alternating monologues are exhilarating in their pace and vivid detail.' - The Australian


Borders by Henry Naylor is the latest in his Arabian Nightmares series, his previous including Angel, Echoes and The Collector.


ANGEL is the third of Henry Naylor’s Arabian Nightmares stories. This show was performed in 2017 for the Adelaide Fringe Festival at Holden Street Theatres. In Edinburgh 2016, the show was one of THE hot tickets. Astonishingly, its month-long run sold-out after just five days - and when extra performances were put on, they too sold out - this time within 24 hours. In total, Angel received 18 five- and four-star reviews, and for a significant proportion of the Fringe, it was the Number One critically-rated show (out of 3,400).

In addition to winning two of the most prestigious prizes - The Fringe First and the Holden Street Theatres Edinburgh Award - Angel was also nominated for the Best of Edinburgh and the Amnesty Freedom of Expression gongs.

In December The Times in London chose it as one of the UK’s Ten Best Plays of 2016: the ONLY Fringe show to receive this honour.

In 2017 Angel will tour the world extensively, with month-long runs off-Broadway at the 59e59 in New York, and at one of London’s leading off-West End venues The Arcola.

THE TIMES ★★★★★ "Henry Naylor is emerging as one of our best new playwrights."

THE ADVERTISER ★★★★★ "AS compelling, action-packed and epic in its scope as any big-screen blockbuster... "

ADELAIDE THEATRE GUIDE ★★★★★ "Angel" is perfect Fringe theatre"

GLAM ADELAIDE ★★★★★ "Another masterpiece from the pen of Henry Naylor"

BAREFOOT REVIEW ★★★★★ "a vivid, brilliant and important piece of theatre... Naylor emerging as one of the great playwrights of our times"

FringeGuru ★★★★★ The Times ★★★★★ Edinburgh Festivals Magazine ★★★★★ ThreeWeeks ★★★★ Theatre Extra ★★★★ Whats On Stage ★★★★ The Stage ★★★★ The Scotsman ★★★★ Edinburgh Guide ★★★★ The List ★★★★ Young Perspective ★★★★ Broadway Baby ★★★★ TV Bomb ★★★★

Adelaide Fringe Critics Circle Award best show in Fringe 2017
Adelaide Fringe best theatre award Week 3
Adelaide Fringe Critics Circle Award Week 1


Echoes was performed in 2016 for the Adelaide Fringe Festival at Holden Street Theatres.

Echoes tells the tales of two women, born 175 years apart – and finds astonishing parallels. One, a schoolgirl jihadi; the other, a Victorian pioneer.

Both venture to the East to build Empires; both see their ideals drowned in seas of blood. It’s a brutal tale of colonialism and the rhyme of history.

Holden Street Theatres audiences may have seen the second of the Arabian Nightmares, Echoes last year.

The show won five awards at Fringe ’16, including Best Theatre, and was named Best Show by The Advertiser. Subsequently it transferred to New York for a season at the 59e59 Theaters, and won two of the leading awards at the Prague Fringe.

“Will take your breath away...don’t miss Echoes. It is an important piece of theater, wonderfully crafted and brilliantly executed.” Broadway World (New York)

Adelaide Theatre Guide★★★★★ The Advertiser ★★★★★ Arts Award Voice ★★★★

Barefoot Review ★★★★★ BritishTheatre.com ★★★★ Broadway Baby ★★★★ Clothesline ★★★★ Edinburgh Festival Magazine ★★★★ Entertainment Hive ★★★★★ Fringe Review OUTSTANDING SHOWGlam Magazine ★★★★★ Great Scott Media ★★★★1/2The Guardian ★★★★ InDaily ★★★★★Kryztoff ★★★★1/2 London Evening Standard ★★★★ Quotidian Times ★★★★★ Reviews Hub ★★★★ Rip It Up ★★★★Scotsman ★★★★ Spice UK ★★★★★ Sunday Mail ★★★★★

Sunday Times ★★★★ Theatre Extra ★★★★The Times ★★★★


BankSA Best Theatre Award - Adelaide Fringe 2016

Best Show, Adelaide Advertiser Best of the Fringe – Adelaide Fringe 2016

Best Theatre Winner - Adelaide Fringe Weekly Awards, Wk1 2016

Banksa Pick Of The Fringe Winner - Adelaide Fringe Weekly Awards, Wk1 2016

Adelaide Critics Circole Choice Award - Adelaide Fringe Weekly Awards, Wk2 2016

Adelaide Critics’ Circle High Commendation, Adelaide 2016

Nominee: Pick of the Fringe, Adelaide 2016

The Creative Award – Prague Fringe 2016

The Performance Award (Filipa Bragança) – Prague Fringe 2016

Spirit Of The Fringe Award – Edinburgh 2015


Mazrat Prison, Iraq. Previously one of Saddam’s most notorious torture houses; now under Allied command.

Nassir works here, translating for the American interrogators. He’s local, pro-Western, determined to bring liberal values to his country and is about to get married to Zoya, his sweetheart.

But when he is recognized by Faisal, his life becomes a living hell...

The Collector is a compelling tale of murder, evil and betrayal set in occupied Iraq. And its core messages – about the inefficacy of torture and the fragility of Freedom - are becoming even more relevant under a Trump administration which has advocated waterboarding

The Fringe First winning-show has just completed a 30-venue, 45-date UK tour produced by Kathryn Barker Productions. There are plans to bring the show to Australia in 2018.

EXEUNT: ★★★★★ EDINBURGH EVENING NEWS: a ‘…brilliant show… brilliantly delivered… extremely moving… a must see with images of Homeland.’

THE TIMES: ★★★★ ‘short, sharp and shocking.’ METRO: ★★★★ ‘coruscating drama.’

GINGER HIBISCUS ★★★★★ GUARDIAN: ‘…a moving tale of young love..’THEATRE EXTRA: ★★★★ SCOTSMAN: ★★★★: ‘outstanding new writing… brilliantly delivered… first class.’NEW YORK THEATRE WIRE: ‘…vivid, mesmerizing and chilling..’ SCOTSGAY: ★★★★★ ‘a first-rate piece of drama.’ THE GIZZLE REVIEW: ★★★★★ ‘…Fringe theatre isn’t just about performing on a budget, it gives an opportunity to present new, concise and thought-provoking works. Few are as stirring as this.’

Cast & Crew

Avital Lvova – Actress, Syrian Street Artist

Born in Russia, raised in Berlin, and based in London, 26 year-old Avital began her career performing in legendary choreographer Constanza Marcas’ World Tour of Hell on Earth – which won the Goethe institute prize for Best Theatre, (Germany’s highest theatrical accolade).

Two years later, aged 18, Avital made her movie debut in extraordinary circumstances. She was a runner on the Silver-Lion-Winning Director Bahtiar Khudoynazarov’s Waiting for the Sea, was swiftly promoted to Bahtiar’s personal assistant – and then when one of the actresses dropped out, assumed one of the roles!

After formal training at London’s East 15, Avital has become a rising star on the British theatre scene. Amongst her many credits, she has performed in Secret Cinema’s immersive Doctor Strangelove.

She also co-wrote and starred in the Edinburgh hit Rebounding Hail: her performance winning praise for its subtlety, and her script for its charm and wit.

Equally at home on screen and stage, just before coming to Australia she played Lilia Butterworth in BBC One’s popular Doctors – and Queen Margaret in the critically-acclaimed Richard III at the Rosemary Branch.

Adept at both Tragedy and Comedy, she won the Tom Bennett Comedy Award in 2015.

Avital also performed in the 2017 award winning Adelaide Fringe show Angel by Henry Naylor.

Graham OMara – Actor, Sebastian

British actor, Graham O’Mara, is best known for his work in Good Cop (2012), Waterloo Road (2006), and The Queen (2009). He has experience in a wide range of productions, ranging from theatre, to television, short films, workshops, and more. Nominated for the best male in Punts by Theatre 503, Graham’s performance in this year’s Adelaide Fringe is highly anticipated.

Graham makes his Adelaide Fringe debut playing a photo journalist in Henry Naylors Borders.

Michael Cabot - Director

Michael Cabot is the founder and Artistic Director of London Classic Theatre. LCT was launched as a touring company in April 2000, and since its foundation, its productions have played to over 500,000 people at more than 200 UK theatres and arts centres.

As well as directing a range of popular, modern classic drama such as Equus, Entertaining Mr Sloane and Abigail’s Party, he’s also staged new translations of two 18th Century comedies, The Game of Love and Chance and The Double Inconstancy by Marivaux. His latest production, of Terry Johnson’s Hysteria, is just about to embark on an extensive UK national tour. And in the Fall of 2017, he’ll be directing Noel Coward’s Private Lives.

This is the third time he’s collaborated with Henry Naylor – having directed The Collector on its critically-acclaimed, 30-venue UK National Tour, and directing Angels at last year’s Adelaide Fringe.

Henry Naylor – Writer, Producer

In a colourful career, writer-performer-director Henry Naylor has been a sidekick of Rowan Atkinson, appeared in Sam Mendes’ version of Cyrano de Bergerac, and - as half of double-act Parsons & Naylor - hosted nine series of one of Europe’s best-rated radio comedies for BBC Radio 2. But he’s probably proudest of his work as a satirist, having not only been lead writer of legendary British puppet show, Spitting Image – but also the creator, producer and director of ITV1’s RTS Award-Winning Headcases. His TV writing has also helped Smith & Jones, Dead Ringers, Alistair MacGowan and Hale and Pace win three British Comedy Awards, a BAFTA and the Sony Gold.

After visiting war-torn Afghanistan, Henry began writing theatrical dramas about the War on Terror. His first play, The Collector, about the horrors of torture in Iraq, won the prestigious Fringe First. His second drama, Echoes, has won 10 major International Fringe Awards, and transferred off-Broadway in New York, and off-West End in London.

Angel completed his trilogy of Arabian Nightmares. At the Edinburgh Fringe, Henry became one of only a handful of writers to have won the Fringe First twice.

Recommended for you


Due to a very late change to the HST program the session dates and times for 'Borders by Henry Naylor' have been changed.

The printed Adelaide Fringe Guide is incorrect.

Please only refer to this website, the Holden Street printed Guide or



Origin: UK

Rating: PG

Length: 60 minutes

Season: 2018

13 Feb - 18 Mar


Adult: $28.00
Concession: $25.00
Child: $22.00
Group: $20.00
Cheap Tuesday: $20.00
Preview: $17.00

Companion Card holders welcome.

Venue: The Studio, Holden Street Theatres


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