FringeReview UK

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FringeReview UK 2018

Black Men Walking

There’s a resolution and a few late epiphanies. It’s an important work, satisfying in its refusal to over-imbue a situation which needs less plot-driven conflict than to lay open its stories like a knap of stone revealing the shine.


Dust

This is outstanding. See it.


Exit the King

We need such risk-taking theatre back. This outstanding production of Exit the King might just remind us how to get it.


Fame

Excellent feelgood musical though there’s superabundant dance content.


Flesh and Bone

Warren’s East London heritage is similar to other writers, and it’s his time to re-tell it now, with new notes and a love of language that muscles in and won’t let go.


Grimm’s Tales

An exuberant Christmas production, and a miracle of compression, blocking, set-design and ensemble acting skills.


How To Be a Kid

More than an enchanting diversion Sarah McDonald’s play does ask just how quickly we need to grow up, even when we have.


Ken

Terry Johnson’s two-hander might seem a low-key hommage but his script’s brilliant. It’s a re-affirmation of Campbell’s comic epic theatre, and inspires you to look out for what his daughter Daisy might be bringing to us at the Brighton Festival.


My Mum’s a Twat

‘Have you ever tried to sustain a relationship with a twat?’ Some debuts establish more than a new voice. Anoushka Warden’s My Mum's a Twat certainly revels in its compelling and sassy distinctiveness; but it nails to this a cause. Beyond this though is the thrill of a debut writer with the tang of their own voice stinging the air. As Warden says about something else: ‘You’ll have to take my word on that.’ So see it.


Old Fools

There’s truths to discover here. Indeed, to remember love, happiness and life vigorously to combat the oblivion surrounding it. It’s still a hidden gem of a piece, and you should see this brief hour-long odyssey, either to reflect from its early evening finish or if visiting, as a sweetly sad, perhaps wiser prelude to whatever you choose from the later lights.


Pity

Those receptive to those energies unleashed in the Ionesco, or more fitfully in Saint George and the Dragon will readily see Mullarkey’s almost unique position. What he writes next might define him.


Random Selfies

This is sweet, fleet story-telling with just the right amount of pitch and yaw for anyone to take, without it becoming too dark or didactic. Ten-year-old Lola’s engaging, and in Natalia Hinds’ hands utterly believable, energetically inhabited with a sense of fun clearly relished by this revelatory actor.


Square Rounds

Proud Haddock have delivered their own stamp on Harrison’s verse-play, and it’s mostly thrilling


The Open House

It’s a wholly original drama, and if you like the super-naturalist verismo of Amy Herzog’s Belleville recently at the Donmar or Annie Baker’s John at the National, you’ll enjoy this sidling from that. It’s conceptually even more original. Do see this. It’s a masterly play - in a theatre famed for its dishevelled uniqueness.


The Prudes

Neilson’s piece twists an unexpected root out of recent debates over power and sexual abuse the Royal Court has addressed so consistently. Uniquely Neilson’s made the faintly horrible full-on hilarious.


The Secret Lives of Baba Segi’s Wives

The genius of this production is to keep hilarity airborne whilst slipping in something poisonous. You must see this.


The Woman in the Moon

This superb production has shifted our sense of Lyly’s pre-eminence still further. Lyly hugely influenced Shakespeare like no other writer. Lyly remains the Globe’s Read Not Dead greatest rediscovery, and this production underscores that more fully and emphatically than even before, in unexpectedly to this bold, necessary reading.