Conquest of the South Pole


The Conquest of the South Pole is a play by German playwright Manfred Karge, originally staged in London in 1988 starring Ewen Bremner and Alan Cumming. The 2012 production at the Arcola Theatre in London (April-May 2012) was directed by the original 1988 director Stephen Unwin and starred Andrew Gower as Seiffert alongside Chris Ashby (Frankieboy), Sam Crane (Braukmann), Emma Cuniffe (La Braukmann), O-T Fagbenle (Suplianek) and Mark Field (Buscher). The play toured to the Rose Theatre in Kingston after its London run.

Best mates – out of work, on benefits, hanging out, and hiding in epic journeys of the imagination. Four young men escape the realities of signing on and missing out by recreating Admundsen’s legendary expedition in a tiny attic room: one London footstep for every polar kilometre.

“Nothing but booze, make-believe and blarney. Sod off to the South Pole.”

A contemporary classic, The Conquest of the South Pole revels in the complexities of what makes a group tick. Highly theatrical and poetic, this bolt-of-energy play tracks a journey from despair to hope – the weight of the everyday world seen through youthful eyes.

(Source: Arcola Theatre)


Andrew was nominated for an Offie award for his portrayal of Seiffert. The Offies are the Off West End Theatre Awards, recognising independent theatres across London. Andrew’s nomination – along with fellow cast members O-T Fagbenle and Sam Crane – was made by the panel and fell under the Best Male category.  Stephen Unwin was also nominated for Best Director while the play itself was nominated for Best Production.

Here are some reviews of the play:

…a scrupulously acted production…a playful and edgily comic approach… (The Guardian)

…a snappy and humorous show… (WhatsOnStage)

Karge’s language is a great burst of poetic brilliance. It tumbles out of the mouths of the ensemble cast in fast rhyming rhythm. It’s bolshie, full of bravura and feels fresh, despite the script’s age. (Telegraph)

…(a) darkly comic tale, which is handled expertly by the hugely talented cast… (Under the Floorboard Theatre)