Thursday, September 04, 2008

Fringe highlights & where you can see them...

We managed to see thirty three shows at this year's Edinburgh Festival, and this is our chance to mention some of the shows that impressed us so that you can look out for them should they turn up near you - and rather impressively some of them are already preparing for future runs...

For me there were two real drama highlights of the month, both of which benefitted from beautifully crafted scripts and hugely impressive performances. I saw "The Patriot Act" early in its run and it was of such quality that it immediately gave me a sense of renewed hope for the rest of the Fringe after struggling through a couple of disappointments the previous day. Waldorf was equally taken by it when I persuaded her to see it for herself later in that week. And we weren't alone in being hugely impressed by Will Lyman's powerful performance as he received a nomination in The Stage awards. There are hopes of arranging runs in London and New York next Spring and information should be posted on their website.

My other dramatic highlight was the beautiful two hander "Restitution" from Pinnochio's Ashes which left us with the feeling that we'd seen something a little bit special. The performances and the writing slowly draw you in and the end has a real 'wow' factor. Fortunately those of you in London will soon be able to see it for yourselves as it runs at Theatre 503 from 9th to 13th September.

On the lighter side of things "Call for the Condemned" from Watchthis was a delightfully dark journey into Hell's Call Centre. Very slick, very funny and wonderfully offensive. Sadly we've found it difficult to locate much info on this one, but file it away in the back of your mind in case you come across it in the listings some day.

My other comic highlight was "You Don't Need To Know That" from Gonzo Moose with its high energy blend of verbal and physical comedy. They will be touring it in Spring 2009 and details will be posted on their website in November.

Deep Cut was unquestionably on of the hits of this year's Fringe. Not that I would know, Waldorf having swiped the single remaining ticket we managed to secure once it got its Fringe First and Herald Angel. But she assures me all the praise is all well deserved - including recognition in The Stage awards. You can see Deep Cut at Clwyd Theatr Cymru in Mold from 9th to 13th September and at Sherman Cymru in Cardiff from 16th to 27th September.

Another one of Waldorf's favourites was "Free Outgoing" with it's well told tale of cultural outrage and occasional touches of humour. Coming from the Royal Court Theatre, it has already had a couple of runs and we've been unable to find any future plans.

"Stolen Secrets" from Mulberry School for Girls was a little gem of a show delivered with such enthusiasm that you couldn't help but enjoy it. There aren't any plans to tour the show but writer Fin Kennedy has said they plan on returning with a new show next year.

With "My Grandfather's Great War" we got a powerful mix of personal history and global events told in a compelling manner. We haven't found any central list of tour dates but it does seem to be visiting a number of venues such as Hull Truck Theatre, Darlington Arts Centre and Memorial Hall & Theatre in Barry.

We didn't initially plan on seeing "How it Ended" by You Need Me but we were persuaded to dip our toes into the water of 'Dance & Physical Theatre' and we liked what we saw - a gracefully performed piece with a heartbreaking narrative. We've been unable to obtain any info, but I'm sure this one will have a continuing life after the Fringe.

The other late addition to our plans was "The Caravan" from Look Left Look Right and despite my pre-show concerns that staging it in a caravan screamed 'gimmick', it turned out to be a magnificent piece of intimate theatre well worthy of its Fringe First award. Again, we have no new on future dates, but they should appear on their website.

And finally, although Nonsense Room don't appear to have any future plans for their version of "Romeo & Juliet" told impressively by a cast of just three, they do hope to return to Rosslyn Chapel in December with their adaptation of "It's a Wonderful Life" which we enjoyed last year. Information will be posted on their website later in the year.

1 Heckle

Helen Smith said...

Fantastic, thanks for this and for checking where these productions are touring. I'll try and catch some of them. Theatre 503's not far from me so I might start with Restitution.