I’ve always wanted to go to the Edinburgh Fringe Festival. I want to visit Scotland, many writers and artists I admire perform or have stalls at the festival and it sounds like an incredible experience. Sadly I’ve not had the opportunity. In late July 2017 I discovered the Camden Fringe festival, a very similar experience in Camden, London. I found a copy of the Camden Fringe booklet, circled the shows I wanted to watch and while I couldn’t attend every show the ones I did see, I’ve reviewed below.
There wasn’t a bad performance. There was some performances I enjoyed more than others but I always left the venue satisfied. With a few exceptions, most of the venues were upstairs rooms in pubs and as such they suffered similar problems. Audience members arriving late, the siren of a police car racing by outside and worst of all mobile phones going off! Gah! On the plus side there were drinks before and after the performances and the actors could be found mingling in the bar, answering questions from audience members.
In 2013 I had a play called Captured performed at the Chelsea Theatre. I was responsible for casting actors and hiring crew, assisting the various directors, participating in ticket sales and other duties so I understand the work that goes into these performances. I’m linking the theatres’ Twitter accounts, the show’s website and actor’s twitter accounts below (if and where applicable) so you can check them out and show your support.
Mr Grebe Is Taking Your Class Today
In this show the audience are part of a class being taught by a substitute teacher Mr Grebe. Instead of sticking to the lesson plan Mr Grebe decides to teach the class every lesson on the school syllabus in a one hour period. As he does so we learn more about Mr Grebe the person rather than Mr Grebe the teacher. It’s an hilarious show and somewhat nostalgic if you long for your school days. Everyone knew that one crazy teacher…
Twitter: Donal Coonan @superdonal
Doctor Marigold’s Prescriptions
Doctor Marigold’s Prescriptions is a short story by Charles Dickens. You can find the full manuscript online but, without giving too much away the story is about a Cheap Jack (a traveling salesman) called Doctor Marigold who adopts a deaf and dumb girl called Sophy. The performance was a gripping fifty minute monologue with the actor only using three or four props during the performance.
Twitter: Ian Pearce @ianhoffung
This play follows the adventures of the side characters of Romeo and Juliet after the main character’s death. Brother Lawerence and The Nurse stand trial for their crimes and the fragile truce between Capulet and Montague threatens to break. One of the main characters is Rosealine, an unseen character from Shakespeare’s play. It was a very professional performance considering all the actors were aged around eighteen and were still attending school.
Twitter: UpStaged Theatre @upstagedtheatre
Crash – A Cabaret at The Cockpit
Crash was a circus act consisting of sword swallowers, acrobats, jugglers, trapeze artists and dancers. Each performance was introduced by the compare who looked like a young Julian Carey. The theme of the performances was the intensity of human emotions throughout our lifetime.
Twitter: Chivaree Circus @Chivaree_Circus
The Iliad is an ancient Greek poem that tells the quarrel between King Agamemnon and the warrior Achilles during the Siege of Troy. It’s important to note that The Iliad is not the story of Siege of Troy, the Iliad takes place over four days in the tenth year of the siege. The Iliad was masterfully retold by Clare Goodall who accompanied her performance with the lyre.
Twitter: Clare Goodall @talksandtales
Another story based around the Siege of Troy. In this version, Helen was never taken to Troy but instead remained in Egypt as some Greek writers suggested. In this story she is reunited with her shipwrecked husband King Menelaus seventeen years after her kidnapping and together they escape the Egyptian Pharaoh King Theoclymenus.
In 2018 the Camden Fringe festival will be held between 30th July and 26th August. If you want cheap tickets to brilliant shows in London, please check out the Camden Fringe.
I hope you enjoyed my Spitfire Review and I’ll see you next time.