FringeReview UK

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FringeReview UK 2024

1979

Political history told in Mamet-fast satire, imagined conversations and accurate stats. What could be more thrilling? 82 minutes later you won’t ask why this three-hander is like curing New Year’s hangover with Red Bull, ice, something illegal and a vodka chaser.


A Chat With Adonai

Jacob Kay and Helen Baird are both exemplary and funny – there’s explosions of laughter. At 40 minutes there’s much matter hurled at the speed of dark. See it if you can, and check out the other Bitesize plays at Riverside.


Blood On Your Hands

A potentially terrific play


Boy In Da Korma

A necessary, engaging, original variation on finding your voice: and a theatrical coup. Acting, writing, directing, video, lighting and tech support, indeed singing are first class. A gem.


Casserole

One of the finest small-scale plays to come out of Arcola’s Studio 2 recently. Do see this.


Cowbois

Cranford’s gone Wild West, via the Court and RSC. Cowbois is of course daft. But it’s magnificent in its silliness, contains wonderful – and truthful – moments. Deadly serious can have you rolling in the aisles and still jump up for the revolution.


Dream of a Ridiculous Man

A definitive telling of that rarest thing, an uplifting Dostoevsky tale. It’s unlikely to be rendered better than this.


Foam

Scorching script, outstanding acting, particularly by Richards, a must-see.


Good-Bye

Wholly absorbing, wholly other, it’s a gem of the Coronet’s dedication to world theatre.


Hide and Seek

An absorbing two-hander with as unexpected an ending as Lauren Gunderson’s I and You


In and Out of Chekhov’s Shorts

Outstanding. After this, there’s no other way to tell Chekhov dramatically that he’s not already nailed down in a play himself. Chekhov would have loved it.


Jab

Highly recommended, it’s also essential.


Just For One Day

Despite history’s caveats, O’Farrell’s core message isn’t about white saviours or pop stars but how ordinary people unite to change things.


Life With Oscar

Nick Cohen’s exceptional powers as writer and performer are mesmerising


Northanger Abbey

We should fall in love right here. A joyous must-see.


Rika’s Rooms

Emma Wilkinson Wright manages the narrative as an odyssey punctuated by screams. It’s a pretty phenomenal performance and the actor is so wholly immersed in Rika you know you’re in the presence of something remarkable.


Stitches

The end’s both poignant and visionary. A show to remember long after the Bear’s imagined batteries run down.


Storming!

Stands alone, a wholly original twist to a growing alarm-bell of ethics.


The Beautiful Future is Coming

Beautiful Future engages throughout though the near future is where it beats quickest. Flora Wilson Brown’s play makes you wonder what life, not just the playwright, might do with her characters. Urgently recommended.


The Comeuppance

Might prove the most lasting American drama about. emerging to a different world.


The EU Killed My Dad

Do see this, preferably alongside its sometime co-runner The Beautiful Future is Coming. A dizzying theatrical gem.


The Girl in the Green Jumper

A first-rate production, with West-End values. A must-see.


The Good John Proctor

A valuable corrective to anticipate both real events and Arthur Miller’s take on Abigail Williams


The Human Body

The work’s best at its quietest, where intimacy doesn’t need shouting. It’s still an intriguing development, as Kirkwood, as in her magnificent The Welkin, interrogates the condescensions of history.


The Lonely Londoners

An outstanding production.


The Motive and the Cue

An extraordinary production. Thorne’s vision is capped by a riveting performance by Gatiss, who glows with the still, sad music of Gielgud’s humanity.


The Pursuit of Joy

A playful, slight but absolutely authentic slice of travel living.


The Valley of Fear

Blackeyed have kept their telling as lean as Holmes’ hawk-like face, and it pounces. If you admire 221b at all, see it this week.


Till the Stars Come Down

Even this early, it’s safe to predict we’ll look back at the end of 2024 and proclaim it as one of the year’s finest.


Turning the Screw

This six-hander is a 90-minute announcement of a major talent. An almost flawless play.


Vanya

This is the greatest one-man performance I’ve seen, said a Chekhov-immersed director of 45 years’ experience next to me. Yes.