New writing at Camden Fringe

We love new writing. It isn’t that we don’t like old writing, but we do love new writing. Fresh Fringe is like fresh vegetables at a market stall, newly arrived from a local farm. New writing, when ripe for picking means it is ready for the stage and we love to find it and see it fresh from the rehearsal room. When it isn’t quite ready, that is still exciting, especially if it is at the stage of a scratch performance or rehearsed reading.

Sometimes our reviewers belive a “ripe and ready” show itsn’t a ripe nor ready as billed. Either way, new work, new writing has that spirit of experimentatipn in action, of the passion to show what has only just been created.

Often new writing comes from established companies who embrace the new and eschew too much reptition of their work. Often it can be from “new companies on the block”. That’s a big part of what Camden Fringe is all bout. It is a leap into the unknown for the theatre maker, the writer, the audience and the reviewer. Always worth the risk.

Camden Fringe is a busy harbour for new writing. Here are a few of our choices this year. We have no idea whether some of these shows will cut the mustard for quality. What we do know is that it is the quality of newness that makes is go with our gut feel. You may wish to as well…

Here he go…

“The play’s ouroboros-like, time-loop cycle of scenes sees its characters waiting to meet an online love for the first time.” That’s part of the lowdown for ¿Rob or Rose? from Henry Charnock. Want to know more? You might just have to ask Henry himself on Twitter. His theatre company seems to be as new as this writing, established as it was in 2022. So that is our take a punt, gut feel choice for new writing at Camden Fringe.

Big questions, indeed THE big questions are posed in based on actual events Inertia by Helen Terry from Out of the Box Productions. “Tackling themes of poor parenting, lack of education, unawareness of mental health as even something that exists and exploring issues including euthanasia. In typical North West Midlands fashion, some of these themes are approached with sardonic humour and a lot of heart and grit.” Here we have a solo show “spotlighting the life of Jane Ford from the mid-80s to early 2000s. We see Jane, born into a working class Midlands family, trying to escape her upbringing.”

Behind Closed Walls by Daryl J. Blair is an alternity piece also poses important questions. New visionary writing is hard to come by in these incessantly pre-apocalyptic days so this looks promising as a theme. “In an alternate future, the border between Northern Ireland and Republic of Ireland has been completed. Trouble has returned to the streets of Belfast. And can peace between old friends be accomplished or will this meeting construct a path of no return for future generations?”

The Sea Between from Driftwood Productions has already had a successful showing at the Etcetera Theatre and now arrives at the Cockpit theatre for Camden Fringe.. The hour-long play “follows the relationship of Ginny and Mike. After a chance meeting one Halloween, Ginny lets herself get spirited away, in the name of love. In the name of ambition. Ginny’s journey eerily similar to the voyage of another Iphigenia, some 3000 years earlier, following the promise of a marriage all the way to the steps of the altar. In the war of love, who wields the sacrificial knife?”

My Friend, Hershel Fink (or The Golem of London) by Ethan Olswang also covers challenging and important ground. The piece is described as “tragi-comedy that looks at how Antisemitism affects the mental health of Jewish students and how perception of Jewish identity affects sexual encounters within the queer community.”

Sold by Mama by writer and performer Dominique Izabella Little is founded on character acting. “Dominique transitions between wildly amusing yet tragic characters who live in brothels, motels and on the streets beneath the Hollywood sky.  Bursting with contradiction, the women she plays are as electric as they are heartbreaking, their childhood dreams sold by Mama to feed fast money addictions. “

Cherry ! by Maygan Forbes evolved from Soho Theatre Labs. New writing incubators often yield up work that finds its way across the globe and into serious funding. “In all of her grotesque, misfit glory we arrive at this unexpectedly, poignant and bittersweet one woman show that delves into the psyche of a delightfully delinquent woman.” Has to be worth a trip to the Camden People’s Theatre.

Last (but by no means least – there are 19 very interesting looking pieces billed at this year’s Camden Fringe) is Umbra Incarnate from Break Parallel Theatre Company with “a semi-autoethnographical production that explores survivors of sexual assault and the rediscovery of your voice after it. It follows the decisions Jamie has to make regarding love, strength, and forgiveness. Umbra Incarnate merges Greek mythology with shadow theatre and puppetry in a piece of new writing aiming to shine a light on a taboo topic while asking the question: who gets to decide who the villains of our stories are?”

What else is there to be said? We like the look of these. They all explore territory and themes that need to be continually looked into. That’s a very personal gut instinct. Follow your own of course.