Unmissable shows at Brighton Fringe this year

Brighton Fringe has officially launched. With brochures soon to be dropping through letterboxes and already freely available around the city, we’ve already had a sneak peak at the programme and present the hottest tips for this year’s festival, as show highlights are sure to sell out fast.

We’ll be providing the largest coverage at the Brighton Fringe in 2016

Although Edinburgh hosts the world’s largest fringe festival (and dominated by ‘The Big 4’ venues as a result), Brighton Fringe – although expected to be the biggest and most well attended yet this year – has still maintained an eclectic mix. A healthy combination of small and larger venues has allowed for more affordable options than Edinburgh, providing the perfect conditions for up-and-coming new work. Competition between venues is friendly rather than cutthroat, creating a community atmosphere that’s a unique backdrop to a diverse event.

This year, Sweet Venues are expanding by taking four of the Fringe’s Window programme. Ten shows, especially selected by industry experts for the quality of their work, include Deep in the Heart of Me, Groomed, Mummy or The Art of Saying Goodbye and Whisky Tango Foxtrot. With such an excellent pedigree, they are all likely to be hits. Brighton Fringe stakes its reputation on the Window programme leading to further tours, so this may be the best opportunity to be the first to see the next big thing. One show certain worthy of a tour and not to be missed is Police Cops, a 1970s movie style buddy cop show, which has won multiple awards including the Brighton Fringe Award for Excellence at the 2015 Edinburgh Festival.

After just missing out as Venue of the Year in 2015, Lamb Comedy has been quietly growing, albeit under the radar. However, after bagging AGM, runner-up for Show of the Year, they are beginning to make more noise about their increasingly strong line-up. Many award winners and finalists are appearing during their 14 night run and it will be interesting to see if Lamb can progress from runners-up to winners in 2016. They’ve certainly set their sights on the top spot with a line-up including Lost Voice Guy, Athena Kugblenu and Tom Ward, all winners and finalists at the BBC New Comedy Awards. With this kind of talent, there’s a sense that Lamb are looking to be the go-to comedy venue this year.

If the Brighton Fringe were to have its own equivalent of ‘The Big 4’, then The Warren would surely be in that gang. With one of the largest programmes at the Brighton Fringe, this pop-up venue has built up an enviable reputation. A Game of Scones from Tobacco Tea Company is likely to prove a firm favourite and, after their 2015 Edinburgh Fringe hit The Accidental Adventures of Sherlock Holmes, this small company look like they’re successfully choosing marketable shows. There are several big acts including Shit-faced Shakespeare, Max and Ivan: Unstoppbale and Movin’ Melvin Brown, which are an easy win for The Warren, but there are also several smaller gems. With its desirable location, The Warren is sure to catch anyone at a loose end who will no doubt be satisfied with the popular range of shows available.

Brighton’s Little Theatre has also banked a firm favourite with Richard Bean’s runaway worldwide success One Man, Two Guvnors. Set in 1960s Brighton, there’s a chance this will be rather special. Another big name Broadway hit comes from Pretty Villain Productions with Glengarry Glen Ross, who also boast Blackbird and Myra as a trilogy of dark dramatic performances. As a contrast, two fun loving 90s based shows are 2 Become 1, a 2015 Edinburgh Fringe sell-out, at Komedia and The Girl From Mars, a Britpop opera in its world premiere, at The Warren. Both seeped in 90s nostalgia, tickets are bound to sell like hot cakes. Finally, the terrific Hungry Wolf return with Runts.

If there’s something that’s caught your eye and you’re planning on booking, please share it with us at Broadway Baby. We’ll be providing the largest coverage at the Brighton Fringe in 2016 and we’d love to hear your tips at [email protected].

Since you’re here…

… we have a small favour to ask. We don't want your money to support a hack's bar bill at Abattoir, but if you have a pound or two spare, we really encourage you to support a good cause. If this article has either helped you discover a gem or avoid a turkey, consider doing some good that will really make a difference.

You can donate to the charity of your choice, but if you're looking for inspiration, there are three charities we really like.

Mama Biashara
Kate Copstick’s charity, Mama Biashara, works with the poorest and most marginalised people in Kenya. They give grants to set up small, sustainable businesses that bring financial independence and security. That five quid you spend on a large glass of House White? They can save someone’s life with that. And the money for a pair of Air Jordans? Will take four women and their fifteen children away from a man who is raping them and into a new life with a moneymaking business for Mum and happiness for the kids.
Donate to Mama Biashara now

Theatre MAD
The Make A Difference Trust fights HIV & AIDS one stage at a time. Their UK and International grant-making strategy is based on five criteria that raise awareness, educate, and provide care and support for the most vulnerable in society. A host of fundraising events, including Bucket Collections, Late Night Cabarets, West End Eurovision, West End Bares and A West End Christmas continue to raise funds for projects both in the UK and Sub-Saharan Africa.
Donate to Theatre MAD now

Acting For Others
Acting for Others provides financial and emotional support to all theatre workers in times of need through the 14 member charities. During the COVID-19 crisis Acting for Others have raised over £1.7m to support theatre workers affected by the pandemic.
Donate to Acting For Others now