Fringe 2013

THEATRE: Betsy – Wisdom of a Brighton Whore
Old Police Cells Museum, Every Thurs, Fri & Sat
Having been written and directed by Jonathan Brown, who won the accolade of best new play in last year’s Fringe, this play is highly anticipated. If we are to believe the adage that sex sells, filling the seats won’t be a problem – as suggested by the title, this play tells the story of 1800s prostitute Betsy. With tales full of twists, tragedies and beribboned petticoats, wide-eyed Rachel Guershon brings her plight to life. (JMM)

COMEDY: Off The Cuff
Three And Ten, Fri 3rd, Mon 6th, Mon 27th May
Off The Cuff are a group of comedic comrades who specialise in short-form improv, with musical numbers and the occasional long-form odyssey thrown in for good measure. Their beautifully imaginative, hilarious quickfire comedy flows seamlessly, interweaving audience suggestions without missing a beat. A big hit at the Edinburgh Festival and a regular Saturday night institution in Brighton, they’ve also launched a live radio show incorporating chat, music, improv and guests from the scene on Brighton & Hove Community Radio. (LL)

CABARET: Twonkey’s Blue Cababra
Temple Bar, Sat 4th – Mon 6th May
Mr Twonkey’s utterly peculiar Fringe appearances are nigh on unmissable, a morbid combination of music, puppetry and audience participation landing somewhere between Vic Reeves’ Big Night Out and Michael Bentine’s Potty Time. Without wishing to spoil the illusion, you might care to know that Twonkey himself is actually an alter ego of Paul Vickers, perhaps more widely known as frontman with Scottish Peel show favourites Dawn Of The Replicants. A frequently side-splitting, slightly unsettling flight of imagination. (SH)

THEATRE : Art In Heaven
Phoenix, Sat 4th – Sun 12th May
Wired Theatre enjoy taking drama to places not normally given to theatrical escapism. Their 11th production for the Fringe – starring a student troubled by filthy photos, obsessed with paintings fashioned by the dead and experiencing bizarre, doubt-driven visions – turns Phoenix into a paradise of celebrated artists, with 20 lucky members of the public able to join them for each performance. The gallery setting will probably be the perfect place for the ghosts of art and the everyday to meet. (BM)

COMEDY: Scottish Falsetto Socks – In Space
Komedia, Thurs 9th – Fri 10th May
Kev F Sutherland aims to turn his high-pitched ankle-soothers into the Morecambe & Wise of the Scottish sock gimp world. While that premise might sound like the sort of faddish guffaw you’d only enjoy via a pissed YouTube misclick, the longevity of this show is a testament to the strength of his script and puppetry skills. Its musicality and tempo are also reliably spellbinding, leading to a string of awards and TV appearances over the past few years. (BM)

CABARET: The Lovely Brothers
Komedia, Sun 19th May
Sure, lounge punk cabaret isn’t everyone’s cup of tea, but The Lovely Brothers have won us over with two solid strategies. Firstly their songs are seriously earworm-catchy. You’ll find yourself singing along to the chorus of their ode to kebabs before it’s even ended in an anarchic explosion. On top of that the brothers of loveliness are extremely funny, despite songs about the misery of life on the margins. There’s truth here too, from behind the costumes, balaclavas and gasmasks. If you weren’t laughing, you might be very disturbed indeed. (JK)

COMEDY: What Would Beyoncé Do?!
Komedia, Tues 21st May
Do you ever find yourself wondering whether to text the stranger you slept with last night, and wonder what Beyoncé would do? Yep, so does Luisa Omielan. This self-deprecating comedian scored herself a Best Newcomer nomination at last year’s Edinburgh Festival and is now bringing her full-on stage show to Brighton. Whilst extolling the virtues of being a Survivor, Crazy in Love, and a Single Lady, she aims for a light-hearted take on the quandaries of modern life. (JMM)

PERFORMANCE: In Transit
Old Courtroom, Thurs 23rd – Fri 24th May
Artichoke are best know for their Artgroup, classes that have been getting kids excited about all aspects of the arts for years now. But for this year’s Fringe they’re presenting something very grown up. With moments of beauty amongst a dark tale of identity, this one woman show of physical theatre sees Florence Leon explore “untethered canvases flapping arrhythmically” in her character Ella’s mind. It promises to be uplifting, no doubt helped by Rhys Lovell from The Miserable Rich’s live soundtrack. (JK)

CABARET: Doug Segal’s I Can Make You A Mentalist
Warren, Fri 24th May
Whether you believe him to be a mysterious mind reader or merely powerfully persuasive, Doug Segal’s show will have you open-mouthed with awe. His performance at last year’s Fringe was a hot seller and highly recommended, and this year’s new material takes it all a step further – he is going to pluck people from the audience and teach them to read minds too. You’ll believe it when you see it. (JMM)

THEATRE: The Wordcatcher
Warren, Sat 25th – Tues 28th May
As many an unfortunately-faced culture writer might tell you, the best things in life can look deceptively clownish. Smoking Apples are a theatre company who’ve been gaining increasing reverence for their puppetry during the past few years, recently winning backing from the Arts Council. This show pitches two lost souls in a chance meeting leading to more twists and turns than a batshit go-go dancer snorting acid on hot coals. It also fulfils your physical theatre quotient for the month. (BM)

CABARET: Egozentricity – Happiness Lab
Warren, Mon 27th May – Thurs 6th June
Festival month is obviously magnificent – unless you’re writing about it, in which case it’s a mothball-mouthed, bleary-eyed and blurry few weeks in which the phrase “site-specific” goes right up there with “self-assessment”. Perhaps it’s as well that it’s dotted with outbreaks of glee (er, and striptease, cabaret, glitter and music) such as this, set in the Warren which, for its second year, will again be creating a mini-haven in the improbable location of a West Street back alley. (BM)

MUSIC: Carrie Tree
Brunswick, Mon 27th May
Soul Dome, Weds 29th – Fri 31st May
Brighton folkie Carrie Tree has a busy May with the release of new single ‘Perfectly Cast’ and an appearance at the Alternative Escape with Lamb man Andy Dowd’s Lowb project. Her own trio perform first for the Fringe at The Brunswick, followed by three evenings of solo shows in Jubilee Square’s immersive Soul Dome. With a vivid 360-degree show of shape-shifting, natural visuals, the Soul Dome is one of this year’s must-visit venues, and in the company of Carrie Tree so much the better. (SH)

Brighton Fringe, Sat 4th May – Thurs 6th June
Words by Stuart Huggett, James Kendall, Liam Lawrence, Ben Miller

Previews 4 years old

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