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Buxton Fringe 2012: Reviews Archive

These are archived reviews from the Buxton Fringe in July 2012. We keep archived reviews online as a courtesy to performers, and to help members of the public researching the history of a show.

Once again in July 2012, our reviewers were hard at work England's beautiful Peak District.  This friendliest of festivals sees a dozen or more events each day, running across a compact cluster of venues.  With many shows stopping off on their way to Edinburgh, it's a great chance to catch both local and national talent in the relaxed setting of this pretty spa town.



 
Punk Rock
Published on Wednesday, 11 July 2012

ImageArts Centre Studio, Theatre
5-6, 8 Jul, 6:30pm-7:30pm
Reviewed by Richard Stamp

It’s a tricky review to write, this one; firstly because it’s a very young cast, with understandably varying skills, and secondly because my beef is with the script far more than it is with the actors.  But my job’s to review the whole experience, and I fear the structural oddities of Simon Stephens’ plot – widely noted but universally forgiven on its professional debut in London – overpowered this ambitious production.  Nonetheless, some striking individual performances and well-choreographed ensemble work demonstrate the group’s future potential.

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The Buxton Military Tattoo
Published on Wednesday, 11 July 2012

5 starsUniversity of Derby - Buxton Dome, Events
7 Jul, 2:00pm-4:00pm, 6:30pm-9:00pm
Reviewed by Richard Stamp

This has been a year which, once again, has put the role and sacrifices of our nation's armed forces at the forefront of our minds. But amidst the sombre news reports and the political debate, there's still room to celebrate the pageantry and proud history shared by all those who serve. And so, the third annual Buxton Military Tattoo proved both stirring and poignant - filled with music, showmanship, military precision and superlative skill.

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Dev's Army
Published on Tuesday, 10 July 2012

PreviewUnderground Venues, Theatre
11, 13 Jul, 4:30pm-5:30pm; 12 Jul, 6:00pm-7:00pm
Originally reviewed by Richard Stamp

We reviewed Dev's Army at the Buxton Fringe last year, and we're delighted to see it return.  Here's a re-run of our five-star review from 2011, as a rough indication of what you can expect this time round.

Dev's Army is an unmistakably Irish play, yet filled with clever dissonance for an audience on this side of the water.  It's set at the beginning of the Second World War - the event which, according to the British collective consciousness, most defines the hundred years just gone.  But the script sets the war in the wider context of Ireland's century, projecting backwards to Easter 1916 and forwards to Good Friday 1998, and reminding us that - for all we're neighbours - our two nations have very different perspectives on the key events of our recent past.

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Do You Still Throw Spears At Each Other?
Published on Sunday, 08 July 2012

5 starsArts Centre Studio, Theatre
10 Jul, 6:45pm-8:00pm; 14 Jul, 7:30pm-8:45pm
Reviewed by Richard Stamp

What was he thinking of? There's really no knowing what was in the Duke of Edinburgh's mind, when he made his now-notorious observation on Aboriginal culture. Regardless of the truth, plenty of people have used it as the perfect opportunity to throw brickbats at the Duke of Edinburgh - but in this affectionate portrait, revived for the Jubilee year, George Telfer mounts an appropriately regal case for the Duke's defence. And you know what? He won me over.

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And All These Sleepless Nights Will Explode Tomorrow
Published on Sunday, 08 July 2012

3 starsUnderground Venues, Comedy
7, 20 Jul, 9:00pm-10:00pm; 8, 11 Jul, 10:30pm-11:30pm
Reviewed by Richard Stamp

As we walked, a little shell-shocked, out of Tam Hinton's much-anticipated show, a friend posed the question: is it possible to admire the quality of a performance, but still be impatient for it to end? And I have to admit, I had a similar dilemma during parts of Hinton's densely-packed narrative. The brilliance is unmistakeable, but it's really hard work; his wilder flights of fantasy tried my patience, and occasionally my stomach.

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Helen Arney: Voice Of An Angle
Published on Sunday, 08 July 2012

4 starsUnderground Venues, Comedy
6, 8 Jul, 6:00pm-7:00pm; 7 Jul, 7:30pm-8:30pm
Reviewed by Richard Stamp

Do you have a favourite kind of triangle? Do you know why it would be funny for a computer to go to Java? Does the thought of Schrödinger's LOLcat tickle your ribs, however slightly? If you don't even understand that last question, this probably isn't the show for you. But if you're in Helen Arney's target market, you should rush down to the box office... because your type of Fringe act has finally arrived.

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Shadow On Their Wall
Published on Saturday, 07 July 2012

4 starsUnited Reform Church Blue Room, Theatre
6-7, 14-15 Jul, 9:00pm-9:45pm
Reviewed by Richard Stamp

I’ve never before considered placing a spoiler alert on something which happens before the play has even begun.  But the sudden, startling blackout which precedes Shadow On Their Wall is just the first of the surprises in a heart-stopping prelude – which sets the scene perfectly, opening a tensely thoughtful exploration of one man’s encounter with inner demons.  It’s just 45 minutes long, but it’s taut and powerful, a remarkable partnership between actor and script.

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Forwards and Backwards
Published on Saturday, 07 July 2012

3 starsUnderground Venues, Theatre
5, 16 Jul, 9:00pm-10:00pm; 6, 18 Jul, 4:30pm-5:30pm
Reviewed by Richard Stamp

Just hours before I saw this play, I'd endured the privations of the crowded Virgin express from Edinburgh - so its striking opening scenes held a particular resonance for me. With world-weary accuracy, they recreate fragments from the passengers' stories on that very train, from the harassed businessman in First Class to the fare-dodging activist hiding in the toilet. But as it turns out, that's not quite what we're seeing; in fact these are all scenes from just one couple's past, replayed out of order - forwards and backwards - and leaving us to unpick the tapestry of their lives.

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Scallywags
Published on Saturday, 07 July 2012

PreviewArts Centre Studio, Theatre
5, 7, 9 Jul, 10:00pm-11:15pm; 6 Jul, 8:00pm-9:15pm
Original review by Richard Stamp

We caught touring show Scallywags at the Brighton Fringe in May, and it looks set to be an early highlight here in Buxton.  Here's a re-run of our four-star Brighton review, as a taster of what you can expect this time round.

We’ve all heard about Britain’s wartime Home Guard; but if Hitler had invaded in the dark days of 1940, our country had one further line of defence.  The hush-hush network of Auxiliary Units – otherwise known as the scallywags – were both ordinary people and secret soldiers, fully trained and ready to die in defence of a conquered land.  It’s no laughing matter.  But it’s a fitting back-story for this well-developed comedy, which remixes our most familiar wartime stereotypes into a fresh, entertaining and ultimately moving play.

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FROM OUR ARCHIVES

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