Our reviewers have done the hard work for you, scouring the town for the must-see shows of the Fringe. Here we round up the best theatre the city has to offer.
Rope – Pretty Villain Productions. Rialto Theatre 5, 6, 10, 11, 12 May
Two students murder a third to demonstrate their intellectual superiority, invite the dead man’s friends and family to a party, and serve the buffet atop a chest in which they have hidden his corpse. Less a whodunnit than a cantheygetawaywithit, this dark and provocative period classic was revived in the West End in 2009, and is staged at the grade II listed Rialto Theatre by Fringe award-winners Pretty Villain. Rope was made into a film by Alfred Hitchcock in 1948 and the story is based on the real-life murder case of Leopold and Loeb
Dollywould – Sh!t Theatre and Show and Tell. The Old Market, Hove, 22, 23, 24, 25 May
A show about Dolly Parton? How could I not? Known for their multi award-winning, politically-conscious, sell-out shows: ‘What is it this time?’, ‘Oh, is it Unemployment?’, ‘Is there a crisis?’, ‘Did the Government do Something Wrong Again?’ Now, it’s a show about Dolly Parton “we f*cking love her”. Sh!t Theatre present their bold new show about country legend Dolly Parton, cloning, branding, immortality and death.
“An icon is unpacked, satirised and worshipped all at once – gleefully scrappy and frequently silly.” **** (The Stage)
After – Mosh Pit. Rialto Theatre, 10, 11, 12, 28 May
‘After’ explores what we pass on to our kids; whether they want it or not. A tale of power, parenthood and a rabbit. Set in a post-apocalyptic future where history is lost, this short play is performed twice per show by a mother, Syreeta Kumar (Notes on a Scandal, The Infidel, The Buddha of Suburbia) and her daughter Echo, and by a father, Tom Dussek (Glengarry Glen Ross, Doing What it Says on the Tin, the voice of Gorilla Glue) and his son Dan. Each version of the play has been developed separately by directors Dodger Phillips and Rikki Tarascas .
Written by Craig Jordan-Baker (Beowulf, Tommy O’Quire)
Anna – Heather Alexander. Rialto Theatre 7, 19, 20 May
“Oft in danger, never afraid”. This was Hastings dweller Anna Brassey’s life motto as she travelled the world on a Victorian steam clipper when on leave from her house in Hastings where her husband was the local Member of Parliament. Her journal, ‘A Voyage in the Sunbeam’ made her experiences famous and established her as a popular Victorian writer. But who was the very private woman behind the public image? Puppetry, drama, song and film contribute to revealing how Anna and her servant, Bessie, survive as they negotiate prejudice and personal tragedy. Many of her artefacts and possessions now live in Hastings Museum. Anna Brassey: mother, explorer, curator, campaigner, pioneer – a woman ahead of her time.
Land of the Three Towers: Vol II- You Should See The Other Guy. Exeter Street Hall 9, 10, 11, 12 May.
How can we resist social cleansing? Made by women who’ve experienced homelessness, and housing activists from Focus E15 Campaign, this unique ensemble show uses real words, song and civil disobedience to take a creative look at the London housing “crisis” and what we can do about it. The cast and crew includes women who have been previously homeless, previously incarcerated, a candidate for Hackney council as well as a number of longstanding housing activists from across the UK. It has also been co-directed by a Lewes local. The impetus behind this work is to highlight the injustices of the social housing system and provide a practical toolkit for resisting social cleansing. This is a new Brighton Fringe Show Tackling the UK Housing Crisis
Myra – Pretty Villain Productions. Rialto Theatre. 4, 5, 6, 7 May.
‘Few have attracted such notoriety or public loathing as the Moors murderers. Myra’s story is that of a very dark world, which no-one wants to visit. From her prison cell, Myra decides to reveal her story to a world that might not wish to listen. Or can possibly bear to.’ Alone in her prison cell, Myra Hindley recounts her dark and terrible story. A new show from Pretty Villain Productions
S/he/it Happens – Miranda Porter. Junkyard Dogs. 7, 17, 25 May Stuck between the gender binary and armed with only a pair of boxers and a photo of a male model, one individual sets out on a violently hilarious attempt to fit.
A new solo show from Miranda Porter, this one-person gender-messing physical comedy exploring gender expression and identity through slapstick and wit. Devised drawing upon the performer’s experience of chest dysphoria and gender identity. With a warm-hearted tone and no spoken text, S/he/it Happens is a subtly trans performance that explores the lengths we go to to change our bodies; it has been picked as one of ten productions to appear in WINDOW, Brighton Fringe’s Arts Industry Showcase for high-quality new work,
A song of plague – Lost in the Fog. The Warren: The Burrow, 5,6,7,12 May
1665, Death arrives in London. Rats flood the city and a sinister shadow haunts the streets. A combination of live original music, puppetry and transformation tell an intimate tale of plague, family and sacrifice when Death steps foot on the shores of the Thames. The show follows the story of a Doctor and his daughter as they fight to protect their city from a nameless shadow. Through puppetry and live music the show explores the London of 1665 when the Great Plague swept across the city. A new Theatre and Arts collective from London, Lost in the Fog comprise 5 Artists; a Puppeteer, a Musician, an Illustrator, an Animator and a Puppet Maker. They are a company led by music, with a deep interest in how it can prompt ideas and compliment art, theatre and puppetry.
Post – Foreign Action Productions. The Marlborough Theatre, 20, 31 May, 1 June.
What the f*ck is national identity? And what exactly constitutes a ‘nation’? And why the hell are so many ready to die for it? After a sold-out run at the Marlborough, Xavier brings ‘POST’ back to Brighton and invites you to join him at the table, eat yummy Portuguese food, drink potent Cachaça, get merry, make new friends and challenge what exactly makes a ‘nation’.
Tales – Bait. Sweet Dukebox, 14, 15, 16, 17 May
Two ancient sisters sit peering out through net curtains. A young woman cycles out into the woods. The town prepares for a party.
Caper with us into a world that slides between magic and the mundane, travelling deep down into the pits of myth where bedtime stories bleed out into real life.
This is BAIT’s debut show. Using poetry, physical theatre, music, and good old-fashioned wit to re-tell traditional tales. They pepper these fairy tales with personal anecdotes, exploring consent and womanhood in a modern world where archaic concepts have been long abandoned… right?
Tape – Blown Fuse. The Warren: The Blockhouse, 29, 30, 31 May
Cassette tapes. Lots of them. Years of memories coiled up in a box. It’s time to unravel them.
How does your mental health and perception of your memories affect being intimate with another human? Play the tape. Let’s find out.
This piece of multidisciplinary theatre was conceived and devised with the community in Essex, posing questions about mental health, memory and intimacy. What does it mean for us to be alive in today’s society where access to support and resources is dwindling?