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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  >>



 
Puppet Paramour
Published on Wednesday, 09 May 2012
4

4 stars

Dip Your Toe at New Road (venue website)
Theatre
5 May, 1:00pm-1:15pm, 1:15pm-1:30pm, 1:30pm-1:45pm, 1:45pm-2:00pm, 2:00pm-2:15pm, 2:15pm-2:30pm, 2:45pm-3:00pm, 3:00pm-3:15pm, 3:15pm-3:30pm, 3:30pm-3:45pm, 3:45pm-4:00pm
Reviewed by Richard Stamp

 Parental Guidance. Under-17's must be accompanied by an adult.

This is one of those weird, inspiring, almost-unreviewable Fringe "experiences", where the amount you take away is directly proportional to how much you put in. Actually, that's not quite true: everyone gets to take away a sock puppet. Perhaps I'd better explain.

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Cheer Up, It Might Never Happen
Published on Tuesday, 08 May 2012
3

3 stars

The Nightingale (venue website)
Theatre
6-8 May, 7:00pm-8:00pm
Reviewed by Richard Stamp

 Suitable for age 15+ only.
 World Premiere.

This is a play about suicide.  It’s also a play about friendship, tenderness… and remembering to cancel the milk.  Our nameless protagonist, a practical office manager with a few secrets in her personal life, has decided to kill herself this evening – and before she meets her maker, she’s a few tasks to complete.

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Two-Headed
Published on Tuesday, 08 May 2012
4

4 stars

Upstairs at Three and Ten (venue website)
Theatre
7 May, 3:00pm-4:20pm; 8-9 May, 8:30pm-9:50pm; 19-20 May, 1:00pm-2:20pm
Reviewed by Richard Stamp

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

Few pieces of theatre attempt to convey the whole of a character’s life, but this play, remarkably, takes on two of them.  Lavinia and Hettie, growing up together in a small and isolated community, find their paths through life are intertwined – and since their culture practises polygamy, those paths cross in unexpected and often-painful ways.  We visit them once each decade, as truths are revealed and friendships tested, all set against the fascinating backdrop of the Mormon exodus to Utah.

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Gerry Howell's Parrot Fashion Accessories
Published on Tuesday, 08 May 2012
4

4 stars

Laughing Horse @ Caroline of Brunswick (venue website)
Comedy
7, 13, 20 May, 7:00pm-8:00pm
Reviewed by Mathilda Gregory

 Suitable for age 18+ only.
 World Premiere.

A useful piece of kit for every comedian’s toolbox is the skill and presence to make a show work, even when the punters barely out-number the people onstage. Despite seeming agitated by his audience of four before the show started, once he’d begun Gerry Howell did an excellent job of ironing away the awkwardness – making us feel that this exclusive show would be, not only fine with a tiny crowd, but all the better for it. With some muttered opening patter of “I don’t know where everyone else has got to,” he sidled into a show that was smart, surreal and self-deprecating.

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It's Not Easy Being Yellow
Published on Tuesday, 08 May 2012
2

2 stars

Laughing Horse @ The Hobgoblin (venue website)
Comedy
5-7, 17, 24 May, 9:30pm-10:30pm
Reviewed by Mathilda Gregory

 Suitable for age 18+ only.
 World Premiere.

There’s a comedy cliché about American comics opening with a lame crack about the stereotypes of their heritage. You know the one: my dad’s X, my mom’s Y so naturally I [INSERT HILARIOUS COMEDY HERE]. Which isn’t to say you can’t do a routine based on that schtick spun out for an hour, but you need to be very careful to avoid the obvious. Sadly, half-Filipino, half-German Ria Lina’s show is full of the obvious, and never quite makes the leap to the insightful high ground it aspires to reach.

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Hanover the Musical!
Published on Tuesday, 08 May 2012
4

4 stars

Hanover Community Centre (venue website)
Theatre
5-6, 12-13, 19-20, 26-27 May, 8:30pm-10:15pm
Reviewed by Darren Taffinder

 Suitable for age 15+ only.
 Warning: Contains strong language and nudity.
 World Premiere.

For anyone not native to Brighton, Hanover is a small area above Kemp Town about five minutes from the sea, known for three things – the hill, pubs, and being a bit ‘alternative’. There’s nowhere to park and the brightly coloured houses are packed so tightly together that you can hear your neighbour stirring their tea in the morning. Did I mention the hill? I’ve lived in Hanover since 2001, about twenty seconds away from the Hanover Community Centre, which is the venue for this affectionate look at what it’s like to live on Muesli Mountain.

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And Nothing Turned Itself Inside Out
Published on Monday, 07 May 2012
3

3 stars

The Warren (venue website)
Theatre
5-7 May, 4:30pm-5:30pm
Reviewed by Richard Stamp

 Parental Guidance. Under-17's must be accompanied by an adult.
 Warning: Contains strong language.
 World Premiere.
 2-for-1 tickets for Friends of the Fringe members.

The cosmic meets the human, and the personal meets the universal, in this interesting new experimental work from .dash theatre.  Drawing intelligent parallels between our own lives and the forces which shape our galaxy, it’s well-designed and skilfully presented by an engaging and confident cast.

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Domestic Bits
Published on Monday, 07 May 2012
2

2 stars

Marlborough Theatre (venue website)
Theatre
4-6 May, 5:00pm-6:00pm
Reviewed by Richard Stamp

 Suitable for age 15+ only.
 Warning: Contains strong language.
 World Premiere.

Double bill Domestic Bits was born in the University of Brighton - and for performer Katie Richardson, it's just one step on the long creative road to an MA later this year. As a stage of that journey, I hope and believe it will succeed; as a stand-alone show, it's a little too dominated by its flaws. Richardson's character, Lotta Quizeen, is inspired by the outer perfection and inner turmoil of the original domestic goddess Fanny Craddock – and so, it's entirely appropriate that the opening piece has echoes of a fading cookery show.

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I Have Never Cared For Sunsets
Published on Monday, 07 May 2012
4

4 stars

The Regency Tavern (venue website)
Theatre
5, 12, 19 May, 2:30pm-3:45pm, 6:30pm-7:45pm; 6, 13, 20 May, 3:30pm-4:45pm
Reviewed by Jonathon Manning

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

Down a flight of stairs, across a courtyard, and into a small dark room behind the Regency Tavern, you’ll find the stage of the Garyhaus Players’ latest puppet show I Have Never cared for Sunsets: A History. The dingy room could be enough to put some people off the performance from the outset; but the low-key nature of the venue, alongside Tye McGivern’s atmospheric violin accompaniment, in fact brings a more personal touch to this idiosyncratic play.

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The Unquiet Dead
Published on Monday, 07 May 2012
4

4 stars

Upstairs at Three and Ten (venue website)
Literature
5-7 May, 1:00pm-2:00pm
Reviewed by Mathilda Gregory

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

I am becoming a firm fan of storyteller Matthew Bellwood. Last year, I listened to him recount his own tales; but this time, the stories are all by others, each with a spooky, sinister flavour. I don’t think I’ve ever seen another performer quite like Bellwood, who makes the pure act of telling of stories – somewhere between acting and live literature – the centre of what he does.

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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.