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Paying Tribute to Lauren Varnfield

Lauren Varnfield was a great friend of Fringe Review and her passing during Edinburgh Fringe has saddened everyone. Our coverage is dedicated to her memory. Her close friend and one of our own reviewers, Roger Kay, has written the following tribute : 

Lauren trained at the Oxford School of Drama, consistently ranked one of the best drama schools on the planet. TV appearances included Holby City Afterlife, working with Andrew Lincoln amongst others. Many theatre credits followed, most notably playing Griet in The Girl With the Pearl Earring at The Royal Haymarket.

However, it is her time in Brighton for which she is best remembered by the Fringe Review community. A startling performance as Blanche in A Streetcar Named Desire led tothe creation of Pretty Villain Productions in 2012. Together with Roger Kay, she co-produced 25 shows, performing in several, playing Elisabeth Proctor and Marilyn Monroe. Lauren wrote, performed and directed Myra, at both Brighton Fringe and Edinburgh Fringe. She also directed Life x 3, The Ugly One and Closer. Many of these productions took place at Rialto Theatre in Brighton, which, in close partnership with Roger Kay, Lauren co-founded and was co-artistic director for nearly a decade.

Her shows attracted great acclaim, strong reviews and awards. One reviewer wrote : “absolutely mesmerising … her performance an engaging and powerful one. She carries the stage with a mixture of swagger and vulnerability, and is clearly a significant talent“. Lauren possessed a gift for insight into the human condition, elevating her above the ordinary. She had a razor sharp wit, a generous spirit, was kind to strangers and had a huge capacity for love. She leaves a heartbroken family and many friends around the world. It was never dull. She was universally loved and will be remembered always.

“Lauren’s defining moment as both actor and writer came in Myra, which was reviewed by Strat Mastoris for FringeReview in Brighton in 2018. BAFTA award-winning director Guy Masterson then recognised the excellence of her performance at the Edinburgh Fringe in 2019, also reviewing the show for FringeReview. Lauren was a force of nature in the Brighton Fringe theatre scene and beyond. She became a friend and an influential figure in fringe theatre making. No one can fill her shoes. We miss her profoundly.” Paul Levy, FringeReview editor.