Brighton Fringe 2015 – as it happened

This was my live coverage of Brighton Fringe in 2015, featuring my thoughts as the festival went along. All the plays mentioned here are reviewed in my roundup, when I had more time to think over what I thought. But if you’d rather read what I thought of these plays at the time, read on …

Wednesday 20th May, 9.00 am: Welcome to my live coverage of the Brighton Fringe. This is where I will be posting updates of what I’ve seen in Brighton from tomorrow until Sunday evening. And then – you lucky lucky people – you get an extra two days of coverage from London where I’m stopping over before I head home.

Interim reviews of plays I liked will be posted here as soon as possible after I’ve seen them. As always, I will write up everything in a roundup after the fringe is over, but it you can’t wait for my verdict, here is where you’ll see it first. Continue reading

Cyrano de Bergerac: duelling meets the gymnasium?

Scene from Cyrano, featuring gym equipment

Lorne Campbell’s decision to stage Cyrano de Bergerac in a gymnasium is very strange indeed. But in spite of this, it’s still a production worth seeing.

Right, here’s a fact I bet you don’t know. Anthony Burgess – yes, that’s the same Anthony Burgess of Clockwork Orange fame – was also a skilled literary translator, and amongst his translations is Edmond Rostand’s 19th century classic, Cyrano de Bergerac. Set in swashbuckling France at the height of the Three Musketeers era, Cyrano de Bergerac is an legendary duellist and respected commander of the French Army, let down only by his ugly long nose (and woe betide anyone unwise enough to poke fun at it too much). His less-known weakness, however, is his love for Roxanne, disguised so well even Roxanne believes him to be only a friend. But Roxanne loves handsome Christian, a new recruit to Cyrano’s company, and he agrees to act as a go-between. But Christian, shy and lost for words, relies on Cyrano to write his love letters for him. Wait a second, I think I’ve seen this story before. And from what I recall, it never ends well.

Northern Stage’s Cyrano de Bergerac is another co-production with Royal & Derngate after last year’s excellent Cat on a Hot Tin Roof. But whilst that play was very much a Royal & Derngate / James Dacre play, this time it’s Northern Stage firmly in the creative driving seat, with Northern Stage’s Lorne Campbell directing, and a fair number of Northern Stage veterans making the creative team. Also – and this was an excellent idea – Northern Stage’s NORTH (their annual training programme for new professional actors) provided the ensemble roles for the play. With Northern Stage’s good track record of producing classic plays, I had good expectations of this – which all got thrown into doubt as soon as the play began. Continue reading