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Brighton Fringe Reviews

And that's a wrap!

The Brighton Fringe, England's largest mixed-arts festival, is over for another year.  Here at FringeGuru, our reviewers covered almost 100 shows from the 2012 programme, unearthing plenty of gems in their personal journeys through the Fringe.  On this page, you'll find our most recent write-ups, in publication order.

Looking for a specific show?  Find it in our Reviews A-Z  >>



 
Only in Brighton...
Published on Monday, 14 May 2012
3

3 stars

MEET: Outside Al Duomo
Tours
4-7, 10-13, 17-20, 24-27 May, 7:00pm-8:20pm
Reviewed by Darren Taffinder

 Suitable for age 15+ only.
 Warning: Contains strong language.
 2-for-1 tickets for Friends of the Fringe members.

Brighton!  You either love it or hate it, and sometimes I do a little of both at the same time.  At its best, it’s a place where anything goes, and we’ll accept you with the minimum of fuss.  On the other hand, its relentless right-on-ness can make you run screaming to the Daily Mail.  It’s a place where you spend Friday and Saturday nights navigating around stag dos or, worse, hen parties.  There’s nowhere else quite like it. 

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Churchills Children
Published on Monday, 14 May 2012
2

2 stars

Upstairs at Three and Ten (venue website)
Theatre
11-13 May, 3:00pm-3:50pm
Reviewed by Richard Stamp

 Suitable for age 15+ only.
 World Premiere.
 2-for-1 tickets for Friends of the Fringe members.

In the darkest days of the Second World War, three children – left behind when many of their friends were evacuated to the countryside – meet for one last time in a perilous, burning, front-line Brighton.  A host of detailed local references, and a wealth of equally detailed historical research, feed into this darkly complex play.  But it’s too complex; too well-researched, maybe.  It touches on a vast range of topics, but I can’t tell you what it’s about, at all.

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Forever 27
Published on Monday, 14 May 2012
3

3 stars

The Old Courtroom (venue website)
Theatre
10-13 May, 9:00pm-10:00pm
Reviewed by Catherine Meek

 Suitable for age 18+ only.
 Warning: Contains flashing lights.
 Warning: Contains strong language.
 World Premiere.

Amy Winehouse’s tragic death provoked tributes in prolific double-page newspaper spreads, which made as much of her entry to the “Twenty Seven Club” - talented artists like Janis Joplin, Jimi Hendrix and Kurt Cobain, who all died at 27 - as they did of her short life’s award-winning work.  Our character here, Carl, muses on these “Forever 27” heroes, and is provoked into reviewing his own life.  What if he was forever 27?  What would he have to show for his time on Earth?

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Harlow's Monkeys
Published on Sunday, 13 May 2012
3

3 stars

Upstairs at Three and Ten (venue website)
Theatre
10-12 May, 7:00pm-8:00pm
Reviewed by Richard Stamp

 Suitable for age 15+ only.
 Warning: Contains strong language and nudity.
 World Premiere.
 2-for-1 tickets for Friends of the Fringe members.

This is a play with a Surprise.  It’s a good Surprise, creative and funny, and skilfully executed by a committed and energetic cast.  But it’s also a play with an intelligent, multi-layered plot – one which aims to shed insight on a deep-rooted societal problem.  The production’s two aspects work well individually, but together they fight each other, leaving a sense that the script doesn’t quite know what it wants to achieve.

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Small Talk
Published on Sunday, 13 May 2012
4

4 stars

The Nightingale (venue website)
Dance and Physical Theatre
10 May, 7:00pm-8:00pm; 11, 13-14 May, 8:30pm-9:30pm; 12 May, 4:30pm-5:30pm, 8:30pm-9:30pm
Reviewed by Richard Stamp

 Suitable for age 15+ only.

The defining idea of Small Talk is remarkably simple, yet remarkably powerful too.  Through headphones, performer Antonia Grove listens to a Hollywood actress’s words – and repeats, verbatim but with her own intonation, the monologue in her ears.  She dances, too, transforming her body at the same time as her voice, and she sometimes sings along with music that only she can hear.  All the while, we’re listening to a separate soundscape… which complements (or occasionally contradicts) the spoken words.

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Shakespeare Unbound, Gift to the Future
Published on Sunday, 13 May 2012
3

3 stars

Iambic Arts Theatre (venue website)
Theatre
10-11 May, 5:00pm-6:20pm; 12 May, 2:30pm-3:50pm
Reviewed by Richard Stamp

 2-for-1 tickets for Friends of the Fringe members.

In this simply-staged, well-acted one-man play, we’re invited to meet John Heminges – the man who published the first collected volume of Shakespeare’s plays, saving many of them from a slow decline into obscurity.  Greeting us, the “ghosts of the future”, he shares his memories of the man from Stratford, and recounts an often-colourful mediaeval soap opera with the Bard in the starring role.

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Filthy Weekender Comedy
Published on Friday, 11 May 2012
3

3 stars

The Nightingale (venue website)
Comedy
5, 11-12, 18-19, 25-26 May, 10:00pm-11:45pm
Reviewed by Darren Taffinder

 Suitable for age 15+ only.

The idea behind Filthy Weekender is to mix local talent with a changing cast of well-known headline names, a sort of late-night lucky dip of comedy. Some nights are probably going to be brilliant. Other nights, not so much.  And to be honest, I’m not quite sure what my night was.

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1912
Published on Friday, 11 May 2012
3

3 stars

The Brunswick (venue website)
Theatre
9 May, 8:30pm-10:30pm
Reviewed by Richard Stamp

 Suitable for age 15+ only.
 Warning: Contains flashing lights.
 World Premiere.

Stage magic’s enjoying a renaissance right now – so much so, that we’re even growing nostalgic about the once-neglected genre’s past.  In their one-off show 1912, locally-based Sam Prior and Richard Sanders turned the clock back 100 years, promising to recreate the illusory wonderments of a more innocent age. 

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Luna's History of Madness
Published on Friday, 11 May 2012
4

4 stars

Upstairs at Three and Ten (venue website)
Literature
7 May, 9:30pm-10:30pm; 23 May, 10:00pm-11:00pm
Reviewed by Richard Stamp

 Suitable for age 18+ only.
 Warning: Contains strong language and nudity.
 World Premiere.
 2-for-1 tickets for Friends of the Fringe members.

If you’d any doubt that Yvo Luna is well-loved in Brighton, you had only to listen to the spontaneous applause which greeted her appearance on the stage.  In this witty, fascinating and remarkably honest talk, delivered along with equally entertaining PowerPoint slides, she talks us through the history of the treatment of madness.  It’s a story that has a specific relevance, since it’s clear she’s also describing her own approach to managing her mental health.

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Lapin Wants Ice-Cream
Published on Friday, 11 May 2012
4

4 stars

Iambic Arts Theatre (venue website)
Childrens
5 May, 3:30pm-4:10pm; 6-10 May, 2:30pm-3:10pm
Reviewed by Jonathon Manning

 Family-friendly. Suitable for all ages.
 2-for-1 tickets for Friends of the Fringe members.

For parents hoping to get their child interested in learning a foreign language, Lapin Wants Ice Cream is a great introduction to French.  For the children themselves, Tania Czajka’s show is a fun forty minutes of puppetry, filled with interesting characters.

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FROM OUR ARCHIVES

These are archived reviews of shows from Brighton 2012.  We keep our archives online as a courtesy to performers, and for readers who'd like to research previous years' reviews.