Brighton Fringe 2017
Fox and Hound Theatre Company’s trio of Tennessee Williams are a must-see. Not just because they premiere the 1981 Ivan’s Widow adding the 1953 Talk to Me Like the Rain and Let Me Listen but the gem: 27 Wagons Full of Cotton from 1946. already famed for a Edinburgh Fringe sell-out. A superb piece superbly played.
How do you create the perfect image of yourself?
‘It’s about this nurse.’ Angelica, former nurse to the Capulets sets out her moonlight vegetables quite literally. The essential point is that’s it a fascinating take, and a compelling story.
Steven Berkoff's version of Aeschylus' classic. War, murder and blood aplenty.
"professionally polished performances"
This world class contemporary dance is filled with both quick and unhurried graceful movement requiring real control, which is displayed in genuine abundance. Yet the themes are so highly contemporary and their skill-set so excellent that they surpass any contemporary dance performance I have seen, whilst holding to their very own distinctive form and style.
A harrowing recount of terrible tragedy on 3rd March 1943, when 173 men, women, and children were crushed to death on an East End air raid shelter.
Four actors led by writer/director Sofia Stavrakaki enact what’s clearly a prison of a circus, people forced to perform a ritual of trouping for the delectation of a whip-cracking elite. A summary hardly does justice to the atmosphere this production evokes or the meta-language burning through the glares of hallucinated prey. You’ll know whether it’s for you if you like Beckett or European theatre
This is the most affecting bittersweet piece of theatre seen at the Fringe for a while and a masterly play. That Hall and Lacey invest it with such pathos humour and delicacy whilst working to pinpoint direction is equally winning, equally devastating and makes you dream sequels. It’s a must-see.
It’s as if Billie Piper’s Yerma does stand-up. Caroline Byrne’s Blocked reveals a writer whose images stamp a scream-out-loud theatre drawn into an arc of devastation. Curnick inhabits a performer’s meltdown from a technique and emotional agency as strong as… a recording black box. Why? Find out. Superb theatre.
It’s not a sequel to Patrick Sanford’s award-winning Groomed. Blooming’s an outstanding work still developing, but judging by Sandford’s original deployment of images and the interaction between performers, it’s becoming a definitive statement. There’s much to discover, especially for many at the Q&A. If you care for the human condition, you must see this.
"....saving you the need to go to Calais or any other refugee camp"
Stretching time and space with help of a balloon, a suitcase, one shoe and countless grains of sand
Paul Macauley’s garnered outstanding praise and Bug Camp adds to his reputation. All four cast give exemplary performances though Douetil and Spencer hit a top register of something teetering on tragedy, laughing over an abyss.
A mind bending, thought provoking feast for the soul!
"The Guinea pigs of Dandeville are munching the poor over-stretched dandelion population out of existence and heading for eco-disaster!!
Here I am - Cassandra. And this is my city under ashes.
A lot of fun, a lot of laughs, a lot of joy. And (mostly) age-appropriate.
Consciousness. Where does it arise from? What happens when it begins to decay?
A Compelling and Heart Wrenching Explosion of Love
A stunning new work from Ridiculusmus, the multi-award winning theatre company who specialise in transforming complex mental health issues into warm, witty and accessible performance.
'Stakes are high in this hilarious and charming rendition of Dracula'
"Come sketch as models in circus costume are frozen mid-act for your drawing delight"
A very funny evening of political satire through silly song
What’s in this name? Eglantyne means a prickly rose and smells by any name bittersweet. Founder of Save the Children who burned herself out in its service. This is enlightening and moving in equal measure, not only rendering a great service, but asking after Eglantyne Jebb’s breath-taking leaps of empathy, how far we’ve come since.
A song about science for each letter of the alphabet - and more.
Classic clowning exploring the subject of female ageing
Not so much another First War narrative but a parallel rediscovery of singalong music, song and dance, stars and tears in their eyes. Tightness of video, the engagement of audience and extremely well-counterpointed denouement makes this a memorable show. And did I mention the Childs can sing?
Tales from a New York apartment building.
I loved this piece and so, I think, did the audience on the first night. The cast’s comic timing is second to none. Go see it and be confounded by this fine troupe who deserved all the applause they received on the first night.
'The Merchant of Venice' updated to post-Fascist Italy
Through an ingenious mix of clowning, physical theatre and wonderful singing, this comic four shed new light on ‘what really happened’ and ‘how they participated.’
A fine adaptation of a classic 1926 pulp horror tale from H. P. Lovecraft. Be prepared for subtle creeping horror late at night when Thurber befriends the brilliant but horribly morbid painter Pickman, and is invited to his 1690s studio.
From dominating Diva, to damaged daughter.
When an author entitles her experiences in How to Walk Through Hell as based on her own, you might wonder if we’re close to stories of abuse and terror. Yes, the abuse is a virus. Lyme disease. The acting of both Sam Wright and Kizzie Kay is exemplary, some of the finest naturalistic acting seen on the Fringe this year, indeed consummately professional.
In his end lies his beginning: almost the last and first plays of Tennessee Williams yoked together before a devastating mid-period work are a must-see. Beautifully crafted performances, these rare Williams plays deserve packed houses and Fox and Hound themselves accolades for putting on three Williams plays in one night and proving a special attunement to them all.
A fun and very satisfying hour learning the basics of using a potters wheel.
Powerful Women Are About
Though occasionally uneven this Lulu is a must-see, and should it ever tour or return it might prove a classic interpretation.
The story of Tony Blair written as a Shakespearean tragicomedy.
A near masterclass of solo performance, based on emerging new writing.
Fringe theatre at its best. A unique intimate experience with outstanding production values.
Donkin’s artistry as writer isn’t in doubt, and Newton-Mountney’s performance is compelling. This is eminently worth seeing especially if you like dystopian narratives of the possible near-present. The story’s complete, but this journey’s just begun.
Returning to his roots, festival fave and Brighton’s own Mr. B The Gentleman Rhymer celebrated 10 years of the musical genre he founded, Chap Hop.
Eight years. Three continents. Two lives. One story.
A forthright political performance that pulls no punches
It’s not been done like this before. This play fully deserves its accolades. Though we associate the First War Pals Battalions with the north (the Accrington for instance) this show localises it to every community it tours.
Make a simple silver pendant at Silver and Sage's studio
Imagine it’s three minutes to midnight before a nuclear winter. And that’s slipped on January 26th this year to two-and-a-half. Jonathan Williamson’s created a laconic take on the old 1970s-80s nuclear holocaust warnings.
This is an outstanding distillation of an exceptionally prolix if often brilliant early Shakespeare history drama. It could not really be executed more compellingly.
Germany Calling , Germany Calling, Germany Calling - "an entertaining and enlightening hour"
Thoroughly entertaining, consistently offbeat funny
The onset of dementia takes Jack Dobson on a hazardous journey of remembering
A filthy, funny and moving story of sexual exploration
A contemporary re-rendering of Sophocles' 'Antigone'
This show will set you pondering on matters related to armed combat and could prove a catalyst for many.
An inherently comical and highly political take on what it means to be a woman
Rollicking furiously paced exquisitely skilled physical comedy
A display of how to make a delicious array of healthy dishes to try.
Locked in a prison cell, how can you tell what is real and what is illusion?
This is gritty New York in the mid-sixties and is now a fascinating reflection of American sub-culture during that era. It portrays a slice of life at the Fandango Dance Hall where the real purpose of the premises is geared far more towards sex-work than dancing the quick-step.
Superbly acted, these gems deserve to be seen
Just to meet Texan Movin' Melvin Brown is enough of a privilege to warrant this workshop worthy of being recommended.
"A great show that combines entertainment with science with spectacle."
A darkly satirical exploration of the events which surround us
The Cocktail Pianist is ultimately radiant with self-knowledge. Hatchard is a phenomenally gifted pianist even on an electric keyboard. His touch, mercurial dispatch are not of the medley kind. A first rate show with enduring things to say, it’s also a comment on how we treat our gifts and they us.
A superb way to get to know a superb play. It’s difficult to conclude anything but a kind of dopamine’s got into BLT recently; perhaps we absorb it there too. Everything they touch is enhanced, there’s a uniform excellence of cast and production here that’d look perfectly in situ in any off-West End theatre.
It’s history, so believe it. For over a century an all-woman gang marauded London from Elephant and Castle. Margo MacDonald’s explosive one-woman play which she both wrote and acts in, asks what you might expect in a series of evenings with Maggie Hale, an amalgam of two Maggie Hs, in 1937. MacDonald’s riveting throughout, rasping her laments, lusts and long views to the dogged interlocutor. A superb performance of a remarkable play and subject, whatever its provenance.
A one-woman show about the amazing true story of Princess Der Ling,
The Forecast is an unforgettable experience on many levels - a horrifying, yet ultimately hopeful story about a future that is already pulling into the driveway
Did he go, or was he pushed? Is he just a puppet?
"...as near perfect a show as I would want to take my children to..."
It’s all in the maths obsession. Think Nick Payne’s Constellations with a tighter focus on one event and its outfall and rewind. It’s a clever but also heartening play, which also asks what time does to two individuals who dream of the one direction but wake up without interpreting each others’ dreams, or finding when they do they’re different. And what to do.
A fantastic double bill of two female musicians in talks and conversation.
Joe Orton's early play about murder, vengence ... and goldfish.
A real treat for young and old
Soviet Russia, 1937. Five writers in a room with an infinite supply of vodka, cigarettes and fear.
An intriguing and entertaining hour combining comedy with pathos as it explores ideas around community, love and faith.
Witty, wonderful and warming politics meets drag queen meets country singer...in a tent on an intersection.
Startling immersive stage production of the classic film; Fast, furious, stomach churning, shocking and gritty.
Syrian refugees, sea crossings and social media.
A Dutch museum attendant says nothing during a twenty minute performance - and it speaks volumes.
What’s Left must be right. But the country’s voted, Right. Do catch this! Left-wing activist Adele is just the dominant voice when Morag Sims puts on the best single act of a whole cast I’ve seen in a long time.