Venue Focus at Brighton Fringe: The Lantern Theatre at ACT Brighton

The Lantern Theatre is based at Brighton’s much valued Academy of Creative Training, a drama school founded by Daniel Finlay and Jeanette Eddisford. Recent developments at the space have resulted in an upgraded, intimate theatre space as well as the new Finlay Bar, named after patron Frank Finlay. We are delighted to see a diverse range of theatre [productions at this year’s Brighton Fringe. Here are our recommendations.

Marie Lloyd Stole My Life takes us into the world of Victorian Music Hall. “elly Power, star of the Victorian Music Hall struck an early blow for women’s rights by owning her own properties and divorcing her husband. She was a household name and a huge success. Until her hit song was stolen by the young Marie Lloyd. This is the true tale of the soap opera that was Nelly’s life, set in the not-so-glamorous world of Victorian showbusiness. “

SafeProd bring Safer, a play that takes us into the world of being in a gay and inclusive rugby union team, “Inspired by the true stories of International Gay Rugby players, SAFER is a hard-hitting, tender and funny exploration of the toxic side of team sports and how one new team decided to tackle it head-on.”

RSVP bring I am Home, a physical verbatim theatre piece that focuses “on the perspectives of those who are living or have lived the homeless experience. From where home was, to what it has become and what it means to be homeless in 2022.”

Award-winning Sam Chittenden’s Chemistry is a must see at the Lantern. Her work always offers unique and deep perspectives. In this piece which is “set in a future world in which people can’t touch. Instead of sexual intercourse, babies are conceived through IVF, overseen by robot operators known as Fosterers. In order to maintain human involvement in the reproductive process, prospective parents are required to meet so they can approve their genetic matching and to agree to the child being raised by the Fosterers and taught from the Rulings. In one such pairing meeting, the sophisticated Bea and first-timer Jay try to navigate the process and their responses to each other.”

The future is also explored in Days, from Twilight Theatre. in a “new play by award winning Brighton based playwright Susanne Crosby”. The play is set in “a future where the world is running out of energy, teams are looking for new ways to create power. One team suddenly comes up with an idea and plan that could solve everything, but this has disastrous unforeseen repercussions… and only one of them remembers. What starts as exciting and fun suddenly becomes a thriller race against time. A play about the moments that fuel our lives, about thinking things through; of risks, loyalty and love.”

And to complete a trio of futuristic offerings, this one also with an environmental theme, 2145 from Elk Productions, is billed as “Sci-Fi on a shoestring” and “a road trip to the future where no one knows who’s in control.”

Our pick of the Lantern has to be After All These Years. “A comedy about the passing of time… and memory… and love… and last chances”, we rated this company outstanding in 2021. “Relationships can be a delicate balance of hope, desire, memory, regret and much more besides, especially when two former showbiz couples think they know all there is to know about each other. But what secrets are quietly waiting for their cue to change things for ever?”

For a highly acclaimed “interactive, one man show exploring grief and obsession”, take a look at I Heart Michael Ball from Split Infinitive. “It’s the 10th bi-annual meeting of the Michael Ball Appreciation Society and Alex, their founder, has a special surprise to mark the occasion. Alex has been obsessed with Michael Ball since he was a young boy, when he first heard The Very Best of Michael Ball in his brother’s car. Just as the conductor directs his musicians, Alex orchestrates a fiendish plan to finally meet the blue-eyed boy from Bromsgrove.”

We’ll be adding a few more choices at the Lantern Theatre as the Fringe progresses.