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The Brighton Fringe is here again!  Running throughout May, England's largest arts gathering is going from strength to strength, drawing together the city's already-vibrant cultural scene and cementing its position among the leading Festivals of the world.  Informal and manageable, all events are within easy striking distance of London - or if you're coming from further afield, Gatwick's a short train ride away.

The Brighton Fringe is four weeks long this year.  In a change from previous festivals, events run from 4 May right through to 2 June - taking in both May's bank holidays, as well as school half-term.



 
Poe
Published on Tuesday, 21 May 2013
2

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2 stars

St Andrews (The Church by the Sea) (venue website)
Theatre
17, 19-21, 24, 26-28 May, 5:00pm-6:20pm; 18, 25 May, 1:00pm-2:20pm, 5:00pm-6:20pm
Reviewed by Alice de Cent

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

Poe follows William, who’s taken refuge in a belfry, along with guests from another eleven of Edgar Allen Poe’s short stories. The show weaves their tales together, as a series of fantastical characters visit the belfry, sharing their tales with William as he plots his escape.

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Eccentronic presents: Neurovision
Published on Sunday, 19 May 2013
3

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3 stars

Laughing Horse @ The Quadrant (venue website)
Cabaret
10-12, 17-18, 24-27 May, 2:00pm-3:00pm
Reviewed by Richard Stamp

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

Imagine trendy musical parodists Frisky and Mannish, dressed in gold lamé trousers and unfashionable purple shirts, playing the theremin, singing songs which are mostly about public transit systems, and throwing crazy shapes while standing on a windowsill. You still haven’t come close to imagining the stark-staring-bonkers world of Neurovision. It’s bizarre, it’s chaotic and I still have my doubts about whether it’s actually any good; but I laughed my way solidly through the whole 60 minutes, and I laughed for entirely the right reasons.

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The Gambit
Published on Sunday, 19 May 2013
3

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3 stars

At The Coach House (venue website)
Theatre
16-19 May, 2:30pm-3:15pm, 6:00pm-6:45pm
Reviewed by Richard Stamp

 Warning: Contains strong language.
 Parental Guidance. Under-17's must be accompanied by an adult.

There’s a fittingly informal feel to the tiny theatre space tucked into the back of the Coach House; a true sense that you’ve just been invited into someone else’s home. The audience sits on mismatched chairs, clustered round a table. On the table stands a chessboard. And at the chessboard sits a man. He’s sitting silently, morose and distracted, waiting for a guest: an opponent he’s been avoiding for the last 25 years.

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Seven Studies in Salesmanship
Published on Sunday, 19 May 2013
4

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4 stars

The Lord Nelson (venue website)
Theatre
19 May, 8:00pm - 9:45pm
Reviewed by Richard Stamp

 Part of the Five Pound Fringe. Tickets not available from the Brighton Fringe box office. Buy on the door or visit www.brighton5poundfringe.com

There’s not much left at the Fringe which can draw a gasp of shock from this jaded, world-weary reviewer. But in Joseph Nixon and Brian Mitchell’s hilariously intelligent Seven Studies In Salesmanship, one precious moment triggered not just a gasp – but a full-on, mouth-wide-open, did-that-really-just-happen choke. Even more remarkably, it’s a PowerPoint slide which stopped my laughter in mid-flow. So go to this show (you really must go to this show)… and see if you can guess which one.

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A Girl Called Owl
Published on Saturday, 18 May 2013
5

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5 stars

The Nightingale (venue website)
Theatre
11 May, 3:00pm-4:00pm, 5:00pm-6:00pm; 12 May, 3:00pm-4:00pm; 15-17 May, 7:15pm-8:15pm; 18 May, 3:00pm-4:00pm, 5:00pm-6:00pm, 7:15pm-8:15pm; 19 May, 3:00pm-4:00pm, 7:15pm-8:15pm; 20 May, 7:15pm-8:15pm, 9:00pm-10:00pm
Reviewed by Darren Taffinder

 Warning: Contains strong language.
 Parental Guidance. Under-17's must be accompanied by an adult.

Some shows are easy to fall in love with; this is one of them. A Girl Called Owl is a sweet, poignant coming-of-age story, set in rural South Africa. Ten-year-old Olive has just moved from the big city with her widowed policeman dad. Next door lives Kay, a girl with wild blonde hair and a scar on her forehead. They quickly become best friends, and Kay almost immediately nicknames Olive “Owl”. The first half of the show is about their budding friendship, and the second half fast-forwards six years to their mid-teens.

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The Coin-Operated Girl
Published on Saturday, 18 May 2013
3

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3 stars

Marlborough Theatre (venue website)
Comedy
16-18 May, 9:15pm-10:15pm
Reviewed by Mathilda Gregory

 Warning: Contains strong language.
 Suitable for age 16+ only.

Miranda Kane’s show at the Marlborough theatre has a lot of fun with its premise, introducing itself, perkily, as the cheapest hour you’ll ever spend with a prostitute. Kane herself is wonderfully engaging as she bounces onto the stage, and brushes off a small audience with the patter that she is used to an audience of one. Despite the fact that she talks a lot about how her (previously 25 stone) body won her clients, who marveled in its bounteousness, I would reckon that her cheery, unshockable demeanor was the real secret to her £2,000-a-night success.

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The Well
Published on Friday, 17 May 2013
3

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3 stars

Hove Town Hall (3Phase) (venue website)
Theatre
10 May, 9:00pm-11:00pm; 11 May, 7:00pm-9:00pm; 12 May, 3:00pm-5:00pm; 15-17, 22-24 May, 8:30pm-10:30pm
Reviewed by Darren Taffinder

 Warning: Contains strong language.
 Warning: Contains strong language.
 Warning: Contains strong language.
 Warning: Contains strong language.
 Warning: Contains strong language.
 Warning: Contains strong language.
 Warning: Contains strong language.
 Warning: Contains strong language.
 Warning: Contains strong language.
 Warning: Contains strong language.
 Warning: Contains strong language.

My friend developed a headache and left during the intermission and, unless he moved to a different part of the theatre, the guy sitting in front of me also didn’t come back. This doesn’t sound like the most promising start to a review – but there’s a lot to like about this show. The acting is top-notch, and it’s a fascinating local story; the staging is highly innovative, with the seven actors constantly switching between different characters. The problem is, watching it is like reading a very thick book, with really small writing.

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The sun that casts no shadows
Published on Friday, 17 May 2013
1

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1 stars

Volks Bar & Club (venue website)
Theatre
11-12 May, 7:30pm-8:45pm; 18-19 May, 6:15pm-7:30pm, 8:15pm-9:30pm
Reviewed by Darren Taffinder

 World Premiere.
 Suitable for age 16+ only.

As I walked down towards the seafront on my way to see The Sun That Casts No Shadows, I was concerned about how much of it was going to be outside. The weather was grim and only seemed to be getting worse. The show is an “immersive promenade adaptation” of Albert Camus’s The Outsider (or The Stranger depending on the translation), and centres around the Volks Bar & Club; luckily, most of it turned out to be indoors, which might be one of the better things I can say about this show.

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