Venue Focus at Brighton Fringe: The Actors

Formerly The Marlborough Theatre, The Actors is the new name for what is emerging as an important and exciting theatre and performance hub in Brighton. I say “hub” because they have developed more than just their original theatre space so you can enjoy the intimacy of the Back Bar and the Light Room and you can experience the exciting new spaces this fringe.

Here are some of our choices for this year’s Brighton Fringe.

Headache, written and performed by Tanieth Kerr, is a play that “explores family, loss, the effects of brain injury, the mortality of parents and working up the courage to go to karaoke.”

For an early evening comedy mystery drama, take a look at Homophobia on the Orient Express. “Two Agatha Christie fanatics meet on the Orient Express and are forced to share a table together, leading to difficult conversations.”

Our must see choice at the Actors is a production we highly reviewed at a previos Fringe. Eight from Ignite Theatre, written by Ella Hickson is “a series of eight monologues with tragic and comical insight into prostitution, suicide, adultery, necrophilia, addiction, poverty, lust, and youth. Each character from different walks of life explains how their own story encounters the pervasive apathy of modernity.”

We first saw and highly rated Scarlet Cherub’s Nigel Osner at the Edinburgh Fringe a few years back. This year he brings a new show, Still Ticking”, billed as “quizzical and quirky look at 25 years of writing and performing. Nigel illustrates his story with his original lyrics and monologues by characters including a jaded rock star, a man who hates being labelled, a woman who has given up men, a fangless vampire, an owl — and even non-binary Death, who explains how Nigel escaped Death’s embrace in 2021! The show aims to amuse but has some bitter sweet moments!”

For an “immersive comedy invites you all on a surreal misadventure of absurdist sketch, untamed thrash metal guitar solos and imaginary costumed personas”, do go and see Su Mi: Banana Beard.

And there’s plenty more theatre on offer at The Actors. Unstitching is “an existential comedy about self-expression and Eurovision.” Ruby Shrimpton brings a theatre piece in which “an awkward woman stands on a stage because she wants to be seen, she wants to express herself authentically, but it’s a lot harder than she thought.”

With The Death of Me, Acting Out, Dublin’s leading LGBTQ+ theatre company is back with an award winning new play. “Combining humour with pathos, this new play, by Dublin’s multi-award-winning company, explores one woman’s cancer journey; one which will force her to examine the most important question facing us all. What is it I want, out of the life I have left?” (Watch the trailier here).

Described as a queer epic, clown performer Elle Fire brings Queen of the O-Rings. “Let the Queen of the O-rings take you on a quest! In the face of mortal danger from repressive forces she must engage in a cosmic battle to fight for the survival & freedom of her people. Expect jaw-dropping battle sequences and a frankly incredible, bondage-inspired warrior costume in this silly, sexy send-up of Lord of the Rings. And if you don’t know what an O-ring is, never fear, the Queen will make sure you can’t forget…”

For a piece of darkly comic solo theatre, you’ll need a ticket for Pink Mill Theatre’s Naughty, “a darkly comic, queer coming-of-age tale written to examine grooming in the LGBTQ+ community and the common lack of safe mentorship for queer youth”.

Miss Margarida’s Way by Roberto Athayde from 5Go Theatre Co., is billed as “darkly hilarious satire on dictatorship uses Miss Margarida’s classroom to explore the relationship between the oppressor and the oppressed, with her pupils as her subjects. Miss Margarida bullies, taunts and cajoles. She is an engaging monster – the embodiment of autocracy gone mad.”

Ladies at a Gay Girl’s Bar: 1938-1969, a circus dance and physical theatre piece, introduces us to Maggie Cee who “brings the history of 20th-century american fem(me)/butch lesbian bars to life, illuminating the feminine women whose stories are too often forgotten, but whose strength and determination paved the way for the gay rights movement that followed. This intimate performance imagines the queer past and passions between people who loved, fought, and created space to be themselves out of sheer necessity and determination.”

With plenty of cabaret, music and comedy on show as well, we;ll be adding to this first list of theatre recommendations for The Actors as the fringe progresses, so check back for more.

For “a filthy, Freudian, feminist odyssey into the desire to be both and neither a mother and a slut” see Selena Marsey: Madonna Whore. “Presenting Madonna/Whore: a filthy, Freudian, feminist odyssey into the desire to be both and neither a mother and a slut. After sellout runs at Brighton Fringe 2022 and FemFest 2023, Mersey returns with a souped-up redux of the psychodynamic sensation, featuring songs, stand-up, burlesque, and a live birth. Let this shambolic chanteuse enchant you out of your Freudian slip and show you what relationship counselling really looks like.”

Our spoken word choice is Manifesting. “

‘Spit the Ink’ return with their third offering, packed to the brim with comedy, poetry, and spoken word for your viewing pleasure. Alongside the original line-up, we have some incredibly talented additions. Featuring everyone’s favourite naughty NHS nurse Sister Brandy Bex, performance poet Emma C, stand-up comic and poet Leilah King, and compere Emma Eade. This is a fundraising event in aid of LGBTQ+ charity Allsorts Youth Brighton.”

Fabulett 1933 is “a new queer one-person musical with an original story and score, featuring music, ideas and lives classified as ‘degenerate’ by the Nazis. Following its critically acclaimed run at the 2022 Edinburgh Festival Fringe, Fabulett 1933” and now showing at this year’s Brighton Fringe.