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Our Editors' Choice Awards for Brighton 2011

The last few acts of the Brighton Fringe have played themselves out, and all eyes are starting to look to Edinburgh.  But before we head north, we've some important business to complete... as once again, we're bringing our Editors' Choice awards to Brighton.  It's a pleasure and an honour to be able to recognize those shows that left the strongest impression on our reviewing team.

These awards are different.  They don't automatically go to the most technically-accomplished of this year's shows - that's what our five-star ratings are for.  Instead, we've picked out those acts which delivered something more: something heart-warming, something quirky, something filled with promise... or just, indefinably, something Fringe.  So without further ado, here - in no particular order - are our Magnificent Seven from the Brighton Fringe 2011.

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Kemble's Riot

It would be a travesty to overlook Kemble's Riot, one of the most talked-about - and most successful - of this year's theatrical premières.  A pantomime for grown-ups with an unashamedly intellectual theme, writer-director Adrian Bunting deserves the plaudits for his sheer chutzpah in bringing it to the stage.  But it's the strong cast, led by Brighton favourite George Dillon and a masterful Steve North, who did his vision proud.  Full review >>

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Sunday Morning at the Centre of the World

Doing theatre blindfold is practically passé... but with their clever production of Louis de Bernières' "play for voices", Bad Physics have re-invented a genre which was starting to look tired.  With two parallel experiences laid on for eyes and ears, it was your choice whether to listen or peek.  And whichever you chose, there was a treat for your senses and balm for your brain.  Full review >>

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Kate Roxburgh: Monkey Revolution

The only out-and-out comic act to make this year's list, Kate Roxburgh's beguiling show is as hard to categorize as it was to understand.  An absurdist parade of the fantastic and bizarre, she impressed our reviewers with her inventiveness, illogicality and, of course, humour.  As for why's it called Monkey Revolution... we have simply no idea.  Full review >>

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A Spoonful Of Silence

A moment of perfect stillness among the madness of the Fringe, A Spoonful Of Silence is defined by a single, intriguing thought.  In a faraway land, the letters of the alphabet literally grow on trees; and as stocks dwindle over winter, the gift of speech becomes ever more precious, until silence finally descends.  A homely, charming piece presented in a real kitchen, A Spoonful Of Silence taught the value of companionship, solitude, and chocolate cake.  Full review >>

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The Unbuilt Room

Geeks of a certain age will know what to expect from The Unbuilt Room.  For everyone, though, it's a magical journey of discovery, exploring an unknown hinterland of the Nightingale theatre without ever leaving your chair.  The format's not without its frustrations, but it's an inspired experiment in teamwork - and if you're in on the joke, you'll enjoy seeing a long-neglected art-form restored to life, in a bizarrely anachronistic style.  Full review >>

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Big Daddy vs Giant Haystacks

The glory days of British wrestling aren't an obvious topic for a sensitive, serious play - but once again, local playwrights Brian Mitchell and Joseph Nixon have extracted thoughtful theatre from the kitschiest of themes.  This play's still a rough diamond, but deserves its award both for clever scripting and a gutsy delivery on stage.  There's intrigue, grappling, outrageous costumes... and some moments of unexpected tenderness from a parade of very big men.  Full review >>

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This Time Tomorrow

In a Fringe where many companies promised site-specific works - and many failed to deliver - Random Acts Theatre Company proved the simplest of concepts can yield the greatest rewards.  Crammed three at a time into the back of everyday cars, their audience eavesdropped on a mesmerising sequence of small-scale dramas, tragic and comic and sweet.  It was well-acted, well-written and above all, well-designed.  For site-specific work done right, This Time Tomorrow earn our final award.  Full review >>

 

FROM OUR ARCHIVES

These are archived reviews of shows from Brighton 2011.  We keep our archives online as a courtesy to performers, and for readers who'd like to research previous years' reviews.