The Room in the Elephant

The Room in the Elephant

“Meta, self-referential bullshit” – the play’s words, not mine. It was an hour, thereabouts, of talking about what the show was going to be (/was) about. What was it about? Metatheatre and postmodernism, sure, but also juvenilia, male friendships, unspoken truths, and even the relationship between art and sexual selection... 

Both Worlds

Both Worlds

Tom Allen is a sharp, incisive comedian whose talent exceeds his fame. With dazzling verbal dexterity, he commands an audience from start to finish, triggering a chorus of giggles with even the most spontaneous of asides... 

Animal Farm

Animal Farm

George Orwell’s classic allegory about the Russian Revolution is a serious political satire in children’s wrapping paper. Originally subtitled ‘A Fairy Story’, it swaps historical heavyweights like Trotsky and Stalin for talking pigs, and the battlegrounds of Moscow and Petrograd (now Saint Petersburg) for a farmyard; but the veil is thin, and all too soon we are reminded how idealism made way for tyranny... 

Brainchild

Brainchild

I’m not sure what I saw on Sunday. I’m really not. Never have I been so baffled by a Fringe show, so dumbfounded and (inconveniently for this article) lost for words. If I were to pigeonhole the show in an attempt to contain the unsettling effects of its chaos, I suppose I would call it ‘comedy theatre’, albeit comedy theatre at its most bizarre... 

Everything That's Wrong with the Universe

Everything That's Wrong with the Universe

It’s risky for a comedian to structure her set around things she doesn’t like. Besides the danger that she inadvertently offend certain pockets of the audience, there’s a lingering threat that the show descend into self-righteous moralising... 

All Change

All Change

All Change is a short, minimalistic play about old age, dementia and father-daughter relationships. With a static set and a cast of just two, it largely relies on the quality of its script and acting to achieve the desired poignancy... 

Faulty Towers the Dining Experience

Faulty Towers the Dining Experience

Although it took some time for the praise to surface, Fawlty Towers is now recognized as one of the most acclaimed British sitcoms of all time. Celebrated for its intricate plot lines, covert social commentary and raucous farcicality, the show makes regular appearances on those Channel 4 countdowns with which we are all familiar... 

Hitch

Hitch

As somebody who, for better or worse, spent more than three months studying Alfred Hitchcock – probably, I mention for introductory flair, history’s most famous director – I approached this production with the faint self-image of an aficionado, albeit one who hasn’t watched a Hitchcock film in over a year... 

EastEnd Cabaret: Dirty Talk

EastEnd Cabaret: Dirty Talk

A review of EastEnd Cabaret seems almost redundant nowadays, given the number of years that these two girls have prevailed in the Fringe circuit. The quality of their act is well-established, variances subject to little more than individual song choices and the inherent vicissitudes of performance... 

Anthropoetry

Anthropoetry

Anthropoetry was, in a line, a spoken word event with a live musical backdrop that used the body as its modus operandi. Starting with the head and moving down to the loins, the liquid-tongued Ben Mellor – the Slam Champion, I have since learned, of a BBC Radio 4 competition – delivered a series of thematically relevant poems that stretched up to the heights of international politics and down to the depths of our basest animalism... 

Elf Lyons is a Pervert

Elf Lyons is a Pervert

I’m gonna put it out there - in spite of the attention-grabbing title, I don’t think Elf Lyons is a pervert. And I don’t think her set was perverted either. In fact, if there were any perverts in the audience last night, I imagine they would have been disappointed by the show’s relatively vanilla content... 

Cocktail Masterclass

Cocktail Masterclass

Cocktail Masterclass. Sounds sophisticated, right? Here's what I expected: a two-hour guided tour through a small selection of cocktails, each session coloured with some trivia and beverage history from a sleek, black-clad bartender... 

The Martini Cocktail. Stirred, Not Shaken

The Martini Cocktail. Stirred, Not Shaken

Well I never. It turns out that James Bond isn’t as sophisticated as I once thought. Indeed, 007’s penchant for martinis ‘shaken, not stirred’ is rather an impropriety among connoisseurs of the beverage - including our host, Mr Duncan McRae - who believe that shaking a martini not only spoils the liquor but, by increasing the surface area of the ice, increases the rate of dilution... 

Neuroscience and the Interpretation of Dreams

Neuroscience and the Interpretation of Dreams

Published in 1899, ‘The Interpretation of Dreams’ was perhaps Sigmund Freud’s first major work, preceding the likes of ‘The Psychopathology of Everyday Life’ and ‘Three Essays on the Theory of Sexuality’... 

A Celebration of Nonsense Poetry

A Celebration of Nonsense Poetry

To be read in a key that bridges the major and minor temperaments Hello there, good day to you,Good day from Broadway Baby too. Today’s review will fit the styleOf nonsense that we saw compiled... 

The Well

The Well

‘Pretentious’ - the word that haunts all corners of conceptual art, the offensive fallback of the Philistines and the impatient. It can be used relentlessly to dismiss any attempt of creative innovation, and indeed the entire modernist movement - which now forms one cornerstone of our literary canon - was once dismissed as such... 

Foodies Festival Brighton

Foodies Festival Brighton

Now making its third appearance on Hove Lawns, the Foodies Festival is steadily becoming an established name on the Fringe circuit. With names such as Gennaro Contaldo on the roster, the festival is certainly one of the most high-profile events this month, a status reflected in the £12 ticket price... 

Dining, Dandies and Decadence: Sex, Syphilis and Sugarcraft in Regency Brighton

Dining, Dandies and Decadence: Sex, Syphilis and Sugarcraft in Regency Brighton

As both a successful actor and biographer, Ian Kelly possesses the charm and expertise required to be a good lecturer. In fact, the man is a natural public speaker, of enviable poise, who relates his specialties unpretentiously and in the best of humour... 

The Last Tuesday Society: Crowley Cinematography

The Last Tuesday Society: Crowley Cinematography

Oh dear. Poor Gary Lachman... Nothing went right for him this evening. Technical hitches plus an uncomfortable atmosphere of both social and climatic heat. Really though, he should have done better... 

The Importance of Being Earnest

The Importance of Being Earnest

The Importance of Being Earnest is one of the most widely performed plays of all time; a likely candidate for any fringe catalogue. There are two versions at this year’s festival alone... 

Dr Frankenstein's Travelling Freak Show

Dr Frankenstein's Travelling Freak Show

First, allow me to vent my admiration for this show with mindless superlatives: Fantastic. Incredible. Hilarious, yet moving. Powerful. Energetic. Superb. This is what I was spluttering to my friends after seeing Dr Frankenstein’s Freak Show... 

If I ruled the World

If I ruled the World

If I Ruled the World is a 20-minute, interactive audio performance set in Brighton Station. Unique, innovative, and unanimously well-received, the show is recommended for any fringe itinerary... 

The Moscow State Circus

The Moscow State Circus

My evening had not got off to a good start. My +1 was late, my pinot grigio was sour, and I was lamenting my incapacity to deal with such minor issues. But as I walked across Preston Park, catching the smell of popcorn with a grand marquee in sight, I was invigorated: The circus was in town... 

Pique

Pique

Pique is a multiform exhibition about the modern obsession with beauty and its potentially devastating impact upon self-esteem. My experience of it was strange and occasionally interesting, but hampered by a disjointed structure and underlying sense of vacuity... 

Vive Le Cabaret!

Vive Le Cabaret!

Vive Le Cabaret is a variety performance with a variety of class. Judging the show as a whole is difficult, because it is splintered into different acts, ranging from the brilliant to the embarrassing...