Reflections on a reflective, invective and projective fringe

So, Brighton Fringe 2019 comes to an end and I am not going to name drop or specifically hyperlink – partly because I can’t be arsed and mainly because this isn’t about this show or that show; it is about the Fringe beast as a whole.

There has been some very reflective work – some literally and I am glad to report that verbatim theatre made its presence felt once again, though I would like to see more. Verbatim takes what people actually say and puts it onto the stage. There is a realism, an authenticity and an immediacy about this kind of literal reflection – the crystal clear mirror, especially where the interpretation for the stage and the editing and dramaturgy is both courageous and humble.

There were also pieces that reflected more broadly, looking back on times in particularly modern history but also autobiographically. This cut across the genres and found its way into theatre, dance, cabaret, puppetry and clown. Reflection offers insight and personal reflection for each audience member’s own personal unfolding story. Deft here at the fringe, often in smaller venues but it really impacted in bigger venues too. (See, I am not naming any names, sorry ‘cos this is a damn overview, a real review in the true sense of that word.

Themes were also explored and have evolved into work of more eloquence, subtlety, occasional rage and strong theatrecraft. Mental health, personal well being, self-identity, the human condition. I was (and am) disappointed to see a continued lack of art exploring and unravelling politics, especially in these current times wot we are living in.

Fringe continues to become the home for “work-in-progress”, where you can see the established and the famous alongside the new faces, often in a free venue. It added to the feeling of both cheapness and genuine creativity and experimentation.

Finally I was glad to see shows being less polemic and more seeking reaction and dialogue with audiences before, during and after the shows in the realm of the green agenda.

The world made its way more into this year’s Brighton Fringe. A place to entertain yes, but also to provoke and be heard, to provoke a conversation and get a reaction. I hope it continues next year. Perhaps less really is more sometimes.