Brighton Fringe Focus: Shows and companies we have have seen and recommended before








Paul Levy offers some early recommendations for returning shows and companies at Brighton Fringe 2019.

A vast number of shows and companies return to the Fringe, some year after year. Some bring their show back again and again, whilst others bring new work. Here are FringeReview we tend to seek new work, in the true spirit of the Fringe, work which is edge and different.

If a show returns and has been further developed, we are often interested. If it is just the same show, milking previous success, it is less of a priority.

But some shows and companies are back here that we have seen before and some are here for the first time that we have seen elsewhere. Here are a few early recommendations.

I saw an early version of Bryony KimmingsI’m a Phoenix, Bitch, and this has to be one of the must-sees of the Fringe. It is good to see the show listed in the Fringe programme pages, and not a main Festival show. This truly is edgy work, brimming with creative risk and experimentation. It is her first solo show at the Fringe in nearly a decade.







“Combining personal stories with epic film, soundscapes and ethereal music, the artist creates a powerful, dark and joyful work about motherhood, heartbreak and finding inner strength. We will need new myths to survive the end of existence as we know it. Tonight, a new legend will be created, that of the invincible and fearless woman, a tale Bryony wishes she had known from birth.”

The show makes full use of the Attenborough Centre stage and I found it a challenge to watch, for all very good reasons.

Another top pick is a show we gave an Outstanding Theatre Award to in conjunction with Rialto Theatre at the Edinburgh Fringe. Earnest and Wilde: Let’s Face the Music (and Franz), is  “an irreverent musical retelling of the life and untimely demise of Archduke Franz Ferdinand. A peculiar, timeless duo invite you into their parlour to regale you with an eminently amusing evening of bombs, brotherhood and Beyoncé, punctuated by vintage jazz covers of contemporary popular music… and Rebecca Black.”.







Earnest and Wilde are unique, and there’s nothing quite like them at this year’s Fringe.

Also playing at the Rialto Theatre, and still in development, (we hear it is going to play Edinburgh Fringe this year) is Pretty Villian‘s Myra, written by and starring Brighton-based actor, Lauren Varnfield. “Myra’s story is that of a very dark world, which no-one wants to visit. From her prison cell, Myra decides to reveal her story to a world that might not wish to listen, or can possibly bear to.”. Read our review here. According to Strat Mastoris: “The power of this play is that Varnfield gives us Myra exactly as if it was the woman herself, justifying her actions”. (Also check out Pretty Villian’s Ross and Rachel – “A dark, uncompromising play about the myths of modern love.”).

At Sweetwerks you can catch One Woman Alien from Cast Iron Theatre again, a solo piece we saw at the Edinburgh Fringe 2019. Read the review here.






“Andrews with a table range of props including little articulated spacemen, ultra-sonic beepers, headgear, more headgear, some surprises, and a clutch of thumbnail impersonations (‘ugh ugh’, ‘let’s get out of here’ and so on) jumps from storyteller to Weaver’s Ripley to another character to being Andrews, who confides though adding this is in the script, she identifies with Weaver/Ripley. She too is long with big hair and thus thought confident.” says Simon Jenner.

A retelling of the Oedipus story comes in the form of Antigone Alone, given a “Must See” by our reviewer at Brighton Fringe 2018. According to Strat Mastoris: “If you do know the story, and your Greek mythology is up to speed – then especially go and see ‘Antigone Alone’, as it’s a masterful retelling, in an unforgettable performance.”

On a personal level I hugely recommend one of the few rappers at the Fringe. Baba Brinkman brings his Rap Guide to… which brings together his much acclaimed (nay, legendary) canon in one show.

Another legend of the solo theatre performance is Pip Utton (another FringeReview award winner for Playing Maggie). His Edinburgh Fringe hit is the painful and powerful And Before I Forget I Love You, I Love You. “Award-winning performances of Adolf, Bacon, Chaplin, Maggie and Churchill have taken Pip around the world. He and his brother watched their mum deteriorate and die from Alzheimer’s. This moving performance is about its devastating effects on the sufferer, family, friends and carers. It’s a journey of love, laughter, and tears. ” Rated Outstanding by FringeReview at the Edinburgh Fringe 2019, Kate Saffin said the show is “a  challenging, thought-provoking piece that presents and explores a very difficult subject; however, Utton doesn’t end on a note of despair but with a life affirming look forward that celebrates life.”

So, these are a view shows and companies making a return to Brighton Fringe 2019. We’ll be updating this page in the run up to the Fringe so do check back.

Paul Levy

Here is our full Brighton Fringe coverage.