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5 Down, 20 Across at Bom-Bane's
Published on Thursday, 09 May 2013

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4 stars

Bom-Bane's Music Cafe (venue website)
3-5, 10-12, 17-19, 24-26, 31 May, 1-2 Jun, 1:00pm-2:00pm, 2:00pm-3:00pm, 3:00pm-4:00pm, 4:00pm-5:00pm, 5:00pm-6:00pm
Reviewed by Mathilda Gregory

 World Premiere.
 Family-friendly. Suitable for all ages.

Bom-Banes café is a special place. In a city that’s full of distinctive arty spaces, Bom-Banes still manages to be in a little world of its own. A regular Fringe fixture, this year Bom-Banes hosts another site-specific piece that lets audience members explore the whole building, poking around in the bustling kitchen and sneaking around the owner’s flat upstairs.

The idea is to complete a crossword puzzle (you can choose from cryptic, quick or a kids’ version) – but the clues are hidden on the doors of the building, so the only way to find them is to take part in a treasure hunt. There’s a black and white theme to all the clue-laden doors, which have each been decorated by a different artist along the theme of ‘black and white’. There’s even a secret zebra to find. Sporting another crossword puzzle.

When all the clues are found you can settle down to complete your puzzle, with a snack box of food that’s also black and white – even down to the pudding. The attention to detail really is the icing on the cake.

It’s a simple, striking idea, brilliantly executed. And host Jane Bombane – dressed in black and white – is on-hand for charming assistance if you get stuck.

The whole thing is apparently to celebrate the centenary of the crossword puzzle.  It’s not quite a show – but it’s entertaining, fun and distinctly off-beat, which means it’s certainly at home on the Brighton Fringe.

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