It’s been a pretty good Fringe for me this year. Normally, I return with an even mix of good plays and mediocre/awful plays under my belt. This year, however, I’ve seen 12 plays with very few weak links. However, this roundup is for a pick of the fringe and not an all-round “didn’t they all do well”, so I’m being stricter than I would normally be when looking for highlights. So congratulations to those who made it, commiserations to those who’ve missed out.
Unless you have been locked in a wardrobe since you were nine, you will probably know that there’s this thing called the Edinburgh Fringe in Scotland in each year. Most people are also aware it has a lot of theatre and comedy in it. Fewer people know that, unlike most arts festivals, the Edinburgh Fringe is open to anyone who wishes to take part. (In fact, one of my biggest bugbears is how many people overlook this point, but I will come back to that another day.)
What very few people realise, however, is that Edinburgh is not the only Fringe. It is the biggest in the world, and the second biggest, Adelaide, probably isn’t the most practical destination for British theatregoers, but the third largest is just round the corner in Brighton. Well, when I say third largest, it’s still tiny compared to Edinburgh, but it’s still the ideal festival for London day-trippers, seaside fans, people who want a fringe at a more relaxed pace, and, of course, people like me who find one fringe a year just not enough. There’s also a lot of mini-fringes dotted round England (mostly southern England – sadly nothing north of the M62), including a popular Fringe at Buxton.