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FringeGuru's Editor's Choices for Brighton 2010
Written by Richard Stamp   
Published on Sunday, 30 May 2010

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... because, for the first time, we're bringing our Editor's 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 2010.


Here Comes The Bride

An ambitious musical with an audaciously simple premise, Here Comes The Bride is the story of a wedding, staged in a church.  Making full use of its magnificent venue, it's a shoo-in for an Editor's Choice - thanks to its feel-good plot-line, impeccable acting and large-scale, high-quality production values.  I hear rumours of a return to St Andrew's later in 2010, so there may yet be time to secure your invitation to the wedding of the year.  Full review >>


Cutter's Choice

Proving that you can make a Fringe success from the unlikeliest of concepts, Cutter's Choice is an hour-long stand-up show dedicated to the topic of black hairstyles.  Paul Ricketts has been through a fair number of 'dos in his time, wittily illustrated by slides during his act - but this is really a show about social change, and a welcome exploration of black British history from an insightful and deeply personable performer.  Full review >>



More than any of our other choices, the play Havisham is defined by a single, inspired idea.  Perfectly evoking the overpowering bitterness of Dickens' jilted bride, a single character is represented by no fewer than four actresses - who wail, coo and crowd around their unfortunate protégé Estella with a palpably smothering power.  It's a remarkable feat of direction and an exemplar of selfless acting, as the four Miss Havishams successfully unite in a compelling portrayal of their common role.  Full review >>



Perhaps the most innovative of all acts at this year's Fringe, 101 gives you the chance to be the actor, throwing you head-first into one of a series of well-planned classic "scenarios".  It's ambitious, demanding and more than a little risky - but it offers the precious chance to learn something new about yourself, and without doubt it's the most exciting theatre I've seen this year.  It's coming to the C Venue in Edinburgh in August and I'm already looking forward to seeing more.  Full review >>


Frisky and Mannish

One of the hot acts of the last couple of years, Frisky and Mannish need another award like the Queen needs another tiara.  But it would be an utter travesty to miss them off the list, after their show School of Pop picked up another five-star FringeGuru rave to add to the one it earned in Edinburgh.  Intelligent, talented and very, very funny, their unusual style of musical cabaret is a treat for the mind as much as it is for the eyes and ears.  Full review >>


No Straightjacket Required

A monologue about mental illness and attempted suicide is not, perhaps, the most obvious choice for a relaxing night out.  But it's an amazing show, wrote our reviewer Mathilde Madden: brave, full of insight and with genuine warmth and kindness.  It tackles an important subject, delivers an ultimately uplifting message and is, remarkably, very funny too.  Mackenzie Taylor picks up an Editor's Choice for his skilful mix of humour, drama and courage.  Full review >>


Bane: Part 2

In one of the best write-ups we've ever given to an individual performance, our reviewer Catherine Meek wrote that she's never seen the like of actor Joe Bone's talent.  Ably accompanied by Ben Roe on guitar, Bone plays all the roles and even all the props in this tour-de-force of showmanship.  The energy and commitment is astonishing, as he flips in a second from one character to the next - leaving the audience feeling that it's another man, not him, holding the stage.  Full review >>


Curious Fringe: The Band ... >>


This is an archived column from Brighton 2010.  We keep our archives online as a courtesy to those we've featured, and for readers who'd like to research previous years' reviews.