Paul Levy guides you through the Brighton Fringe jungle.
The Brighton Fringe Programme is huge. Hopefully publications such as Fringe Review help you to navigate your way through it. Even then it can feel overwhelming what to see, especially if you are on a limited budget (Who isn’t these days?).
Here are a few tips on where to start…
Firstly, look for a show near where you live. Minimise the fuss of getting to and from your home to a venue.
Secondly, think about the genres that appeal to you most. The Brighton Fringe web site has search filters under the What’s On tab that let you tunnel down quickly. A new play? A solo show? A musical ? Some sketch comedy?
Thirdly, find out which shows got awards. You’ll often find exciting and interesting new work there.
Fourthly, head out onto New Road for one of the Fringe City events. It can be inspiring, intriguing and surprising to be flyered on Brighton’s (bijoux) Royal Mile. Fringe City is a useful face to face show-finding tool for the Fringe. You will also get pitched at with any special offers.
Finally, look at venues’ own web sites and social media pages for latest news and promo videos. Venue pages can be more manageable for show finding rather than trying to wade through the entire Fringe programme.
At Fringe festivals nearly everyone’s claims to be ‘ground-breaking’ and ‘amazing’. I tend to mistrust shows that use such superlatives and hype. Look for authenticity and clear, confident description about a show.
The buzz phrase “evidence-based decision-making” is also over-used these days and I go as much by instinct as reviews and other press coverage. There is often evidence to be found in the form of rehearsal videos, non-hyped interviews where Fringe makersreally do talk about their work, as well as decent quality recommendations.
And decent quality doesn’t only mean newspapers and magazines (who are also often guily to their own overuse of hype and superlatives). but reliable bloggers and the good old grapevine. Look for recommendations from people who trust who may have seen shows before you are thinking of seeing.
Overall, it is a mix of trusting your own intuition and doing a bit of research that looks beyond fake promises and air-brushed P.R.
Here is our full Brighton Fringe coverage.