NEWS FROM THE BRIGHTON FRINGE
SHORT COMMENTARY ON WHAT IS HAPPENING ON THE OTHER SIDE OF THE POND
I had the unexpected pleasure of stumbling on BITCH BOXER written and performed by Charlotte Josephine. I am not a sports fan and I particularly abhor boxing, yet this play with its fast moving dialogue, exquisite direction by Bryony Shanahan and truly brilliant lighting effects by Seth Rook Williams captivated me from the moment Josephine stepped on the stage and brought tears to my eyes as I relived a young girl’s torment, torn by her own determination to validate herself in her fathers eyes. This is a play that must be seen because words cannot cast its spell. I takes place in 2012 when women entered the Olympic boxing ring for the first time. We see Chloe training to compete in the event even as she is torn by cosmic events in her own life. Through it all, we see her hanging on to a tattered faith in herself and reaching for a star she knows belongs to her. It is Josephine’s performance that makes this production stellar. She is an artist in every sense of that word and beyond
BITCH BOXER returns to the Marlborough Theatre May 25,26,& 27 7:30 pm
www.brightonfringe.org; 01273 917272
THE SPEIGEL TENT IS THE PLACE TO BE ……
LA CLIQUE happens every night but MOnday at 9 pm and iach performance is unique. You will see Scotty the Blue Bunny charming you with is wagging little tail and marvelous repartee; Shay Horay amaze you with rubber bands, Lilikoi Kaos spinning hula hoops in ways you cannot imagine and the Wau Wau Sisters doing a trapeze act that defies gravity. The show is spellbinding from start to finish and for me a huge highlight is Paul Zenon’s combination of magic and comedy. This is an hour and a half of superb entertainment…fun, exhilarating and spirit lifting.
My favorite performers ever are and have always been MIKLEANGELO AND THE BLACK SEA GENTLEMEN. They perform at 5 pm in the tent from the 13-19 and are an experience not to be missed “These are performers at the top of their game,” says The Scotsman; The Sydney Morning Herald says “They are not so much a band as a dream you cannot wake from.”
The show combines musical theatre and black humor in unexpected ways. You will never see its like anywhere in the world. Mikelangelo has composed and arranged songs that blend Balkan melodies and European Kabaret with comedy and farce. The Gentlemen are superb musicians and each has his own comedic sense. Mikelangelo is brilliant on every level as their leader and your host in the production. When they play AN A MINOR DAY you laugh and yet you know just what they mean…and I defy you not to nod your head at the black humor in A FORMIDABLE MARINADE. You will chuckle; you will dance and you will love every minute you spend with MIKELANGELO AND THE BLACK SEA GENTLEMEN. That is a promise. Tickets 01273 917272 www.brightonfringe.com.
THE BIG BITE-SIZE BREAKFAST: Fresh Fruit *****
This is a series of award winning one-minute plays delightfully presented with coffee and a croissant included in the 12.50/9.50 ticket. Fresh Fruit is a collection of 5 vignettes directed and produced by Nick Brice/Sam Holland and Sophia Wylie. Each play in this series gives us a new take on what it is to be human, mixing pathos with humor. Of special note is Tegen Hitchens whose monologue Thin Air about a tight rope walker who learns what courage is all about is mesmerizing and unforgettable. Do not miss this delightful mid day hour. Tickets 01273 917272 www.brightonfringe.com.
THE BIG BITE-SIZE BREAKFAST: Interpretations *****
It is rare to see a show that has an almost universal appeal. The audience for this “menu” ranged from a rapt 3 year old to a woman of 80 and everyone there was captivated by the selection of plays that combine comedy with a dose of unvarnished reality. Of special note was Becky Norris’s monologue VALENTINE’S DAY about a woman who receives a valentine from a most unusual stranger. Norris’s characterization is multi-faceted and believable, yet laced with dead-pan humor. Kudos to Nick Brice, Sam Holland and Sophia Wylie for their programming and expert direction. Once again they have given us a delightful and unforgettable morning. Tickets 01273 917272 www.brightonfringe.com.
ROAD Written by Jim Cartwright and directed by Julian Kerridge *****
This award winning play is as moving today as it was when it was written in 1986. “Now, 24 years later, as the gap between rich and poor grows ever wider….once again it is the very poorest in society who suffer,” says director Julian Kerridge. Theater is our best vehicle for social outrage and this gorgeous piece will make you cry, laugh and ponder at what is happening now in our world. Perfectly paced, beautifully directed and acted by an all-star cast, it is the most important piece of theater I have seen in a very long time. Tickets 01273 917272 www.brightonfringe.com.
THE BIG BITE-SIZE BREAKFAST: Desires. The Latest Music Bar May 19, 2013 *****
Once again, the audience is beautifully entertained with five ten-minute plays, all unforgettable because each is a commentary on the human experience. The play selection for all three menus (at Theatre Royal and The Latest) is superb. We are given literary quality, spot-on direction and amazing acting. These talented performers must switch from one character to another in a repertory of fifteen plays (for all 3 shows) and not one of them loses the narrative flow. Each menu is well worth seeing both for its social commentary, its quality, humor and pace. Tickets 01273 917272 www.brightonfringe.com.
THE TREASON SHOW *****
This special Festival show is at the Sabai Pavilion at 9pm Tuesday May 21 until Thursday May 25. The very talented cast present fast moving acerbic commentary on the news in song and satire that cannot help but appeal no matter what your level of political interest. This venue is very large and lacks the intimacy that works so well for the production at The Latest Music Bar, but the skits still get laughs and leave the audience with unforgettable memories that poke holes in the public image of our all too pompous public officials. Most memorable in this production was Daniel Beales’ impersonation of Angela Merkell singing a parody of My Way. This show runs monthly. If you missed this one go to www.treasonshow.co.uk for the next edition.
BIG BOYS DON’T DANCE *****
This show is a must see for every age. The music is superb, the dancing is mind boggling and the talent of the two stars amazing. There is a recognizable and believable story line running though the hour about two brothers about to split up because one is getting married. However, the show is held together with almost magical rhythm, dialogue and dance. The hour passes in an instant, so memorable are the performances of these two South African actors with unequalled comedic timing and pace. At The Warren until May 24 at 6 pm Tickets www.otherplacebrighton.co.uk or 01273 917272 www.brightonfringe.com.
QUA, QUA, QUA !! *****
Prepare yourself for a delightful, interactive experience creating comedy in the Jacques Tati tradition. This charming hour sweeps the audience into the Tati experience highlighting the tiny absurdities that are life itself. Chris Cresswell has created this gem of a piece and it is his comedic genius that propels the action. He is supported by a talented cast who pantomime his words. Marion Deprez is outstanding in her characterizations of the conductor on a train, a frustrated sunbather and just another woman in the rain. Do not miss this tribute to a moviemaker who saw what being human means. Cresswell’s presentation is sensitive to every nuance that makes life worthwhile. Tickets: emporiumbrighton.com. May 30-June 1 @ 7:30 13.50 pounds
NIGHT AFTER NIGHT *****
Paul Shaw is a consummate actor, a thrill to see on any stage. His performance in this touching and very wise production is nothing short of stellar. The story begins in 1958 when homosexuality was considered a mental disease. A married couple meet for theater and ponder on their future and the baby soon to be born. Shaw who plays all the characters in Neil Bartlett’s profound script has an understated delivery that makes the dramatization all the more powerful. His series of characters explore the need to accept who we are and what we have become as a fact of our lives. The music composed by Nicolas Bloomfield only enhances the poetic rhythms of the monologue. The tragedy is that this show was only performed May 31 and June first at the Marlborough Theatre and more people lost the opportunity to experience it.
THE WEATHERMAN *****
Kiki Lovechild proves how unnecessary words can be in his charming pantomime of how to amuse yourself in purgatory. His show is beautifully paced and combines movement with sound and lighting that sweeps his audience into a world of fun and fantasy unlimited by earthly notions. Anything can happen on his stage and does from umbrellas swirling to multicolored lights flashing and unexpected gifts shared by a captivated audience. Nothing verbal can describe the magic of this production and why should it? The show is an unforgettable hour that cannot fail to make you laugh and love being alive. Seen at the Marlborough Theatre May 30-June 1.
JULIAN CADDY SPEAKS ON THE IMPACT OF THE 2013 BRIGHTON FRINGE
This is the second year that Julian Caddy has been at the helm of the Brighton Fringe. In that time, the number and quality of shows have increased by 60% as have the number of attendees. The Brighton Fringe is the second largest festival in the UK. Caddy made these comments after a spectacular performance of THE BIG BITE SIZED BREAKFAST: INTERPRETATIONS (reviewed in this article). The Big Bite Sized Breakfast series was a group of delightful and very meaningful 10-minute plays, each one giving the audience a new view of our own life experience. Caddy spoke to us after the show. “What Bite Sized is doing is basic to what we are about,” he said. “Over 200,000 come to The Brighton Fringe. And the shows that come here reflect the values of the society that hosts it.”
The majority of the patrons that attend shows for this festival are from Brighton as opposed to The Edinburgh Festival Fringe where the majority of punters are visitors. Each production lives or dies on what they produce and the audience’s reaction to their work. “That is why we should make more of what we have here, now,” Caddy said. “The Fringe should continue to support the arts by giving vibrant offerings throughout the year. That is my ambition.”
Nick Brice produced the Bite Sized Breakfast show. “Showing people the choices they have gives them the power to make change happen,” he said.
Brice pointed out the parallel between theatre and business. He creates similar productions to businesses to help both employees and employers empathize with one another and learn how to actually understand what the other person is thinking. His goal is to show people how to do business in a different way through theater. “Building a brand is making a piece of theatre,” he said.
Theater then is a reflection of life in all its many phases. Perhaps, this is why experiencing a fringe festival anywhere is so very exhilarating. Suddenly, the arts take precedence over profit…even over our daily routines. Instead of going home, eating dinner and watching television, we take in a play, listen to music, laugh at a comedy and experience live entertainment with people of like interests. All the shows that came to The Brighton Fringe this year were forms of communication and so was the act of attending them. Theater, be it a play, a dance, a concert… indeed, in all its forms…. gives us invaluable tools to keep us human.