What’s worth watching: Brighton Fringe 2023

Inside bar of Spiegeltent

Skip to: Blue Blood, The Unknown Soldier, Green Knight, Old Bones, Chemistry, Havisham, Who is No 1?, Renfield, My Esteemed Friend, Talking to the Dead, Jekyll and Hyde, This is Normal, Lulu, Fabulett 1933, Atalanta the Adventurer, Geoff Mead’s tours, Toy Stories, Lachlan Werner, A Guide to Therapy for Terrible People, Experiment Human, 10 Films with my Dad, Crime Scene Improvisation, Finlay and Joe, Biscuit Barrel, Notflix

So welcome to Fringe season 2023 – and it’s a bumpier road that we were expecting. In 2020 and 2021, there were a lot of nerves over whether arts organisations, fringe and otherwise, would survive financially. Help came, theatres reopened, and the fringes assumed it was back to business. Instead, we’re stumbling into new crises. Some are echoes of the pandemic, some am the re-emergence of old issues, and some are completely new problems.

Brighton has not been immune from this – but they’re having an easier time than the other big festivals. The Vault Festival (not a fringe but a big feeder to the fringe circuit) has just lost the venue it’s named after with know knowing if the festival will continue at all. Edinburgh, meanwhile, expanded too fast and hit a multitude of problems, with a biggest threat being the state of accommodation. I am taking better looks at both these crises elsewhere, but in both cases the worst-case scenarios are catastrophic. The one thing Brighton Fringe has that the other festivals don’t is stability.

It should not have been this way. The shock news to hit last year’s fringe was The Warren, by far the largest venue at Brighton Fringe, pulling out of the festival following complaints over unpaid earnings. The equivalent event in Edinburgh would be if all of the Big Four pulled out. Any yet Brighton Fringe 2022 went ahead with a respectable size two thirds of the 2019 peak. Brighton Fringe’s troubles are far from over and there have been further venue problems this year, but again we have a respectable size.

What does this show us? It shows us just how resilient the open festival model is. Brighton Fringe is more than a festival, it’s also a community. Dozens of venues and hundreds of performing arts organisations make a joint effort, and we now know that when the biggest player by far goes under, the rest of community reconfigures, reorganises, and carries on. Out of the big three festivals, Brighton Fringe now looks the most secure – not because its problems are over, but because how good Brighton Fringe is as a community responding to it. But if the worst comes to the worst for Edinburgh and Vault, Brighton Fringe’s role could become a lot more important.

So I’ll be keeping a good eye on this festival. This could be the shape of fringes to come.

What’s changed since 2022

The main feature of this article is previews. I’ll be getting on to these in a moment, but first, a look at changes since last year. Brighton Fringe 2023 is about the same size as 2022, but within these numbers there’s been a lot of movement.

First, one big of news that is arguably “no change” but confirms what we suspected. The Warren is gone for good. The Warren’s absence in 2022 was originally supposed to be a one-year break. The year-round venue Electric Arcade carried on under moderately controversial circumstances, but that went into hibernation in November. Then the news came in January that Otherplace Productions was going into liquidation. As a reminder, if an insolvent company goes straight to liquidation and skips administration, there’s no hope of a rescue. I will be writing about this in more detail during my Brighton Fringe coverage, but the short version is that The Warren’s gone and never coming back.

caravanserai_camp_bestival_2018_gw-9616_1253490621Stepping into a Warren-shaped hole is Caravanserai, brand new to the festival fringe circuit. This was previously a pop-up venue at Bestival, now also functioning as a pop-up fringe venue. There are just two spaces here, compared from the seven operated at the peak of The Warren, but there’s zero enthusiasm for another venue to get that large any time soon. In addition, there’s a number of (mostly free) events outdoors, and – notably – Fringe City is operating from Caravanserai. The latter thing might be controversial, as it raises questions over impartiality, although I can see some reasons for doing this. I will return to this another time. What it does show is that Brighton Fringe is heavily invested in making sure Caravanserai succeeds. Big gesture from Brighton Fringe; now let us see if it was a wise gesture.

However, the shock news is that The Rialto has closed. That is a bitter blow to Brighton Fringe, because it looked like they’d managed to make it through Covid. I did notice the Rialto was approaching ten years, which is the length of a lot of business leases; whatever the details, the building has been sold. And with The Rialto’s programme having garnered so much respect, this is a loss to the fringe circuit – and possibly an avoidable loss too. In 2020-2021, both DCMS and the Pebble Trust gave a lot of money to bail out The Warren but none for the Rialto. But we now know The Warren was throwing good money after bad, and maybe The Rialto would still be here had the money gone elsewhere. Serious questions need asking about those decisions.

Will a replacement to The Warren emerge? There are a lot of small-scale permanent theatres in Brighton – it’s just that The Rialto was the one that managed to become the go-to destination in the days when Warren, Sweet and Spiegeltent dominated the fringe. I’ve been going through the numbers, and there’s several year-round theatres with registration figures in the low double figures. No definite replacement emerging yet, but The Actors is edging up, and is worth keeping an eye on.

But the stalking horse in all of this is, fittingly enough, Laughing Horse. One of the major Free Fringe chains in Edinburgh, they’ve been slowly establishing a foothold in Brighton, but throughout most of the 2010s it didn’t really register on the radar, especially not the theatre radar. But by 2019 they had grown from two spaces to three, and then five in 2022 – and now … it’s the biggest venue chain of all, a long way head of even Spiegeltent.

In hindsight, it’s not too much of a surprise. Laughing Horse have played the long game here, and done a fine job of it. Even when The Warren took the lion’s share of acts from Edinburgh, there were prominent comedians who preferred working with Laughing Horse. And the biggest surprise of all is that Laughing Horse is making substantial in-roads into theatre – even though their spaces aren’t set up with theatre lights. As we saw last year with Vermin, some plays work in a normal room.

But I’m going to stop my analysis here. I analysed things in 2022 and things were turned on their head. They could be turned on their head again in 2024. Let’s get on to recommendations:

Safe choices:

Since I’ve not linked to this for some time, let’s start with a reminder that you can read full details of how I pick my recommendations, and what they mean, here. The important bit: all recommendations are dependent on you liking the sound of what I’m describing. If you’re, say, not interested in political satire, you’re unlikely to enjoy anything I recommend as a political satire, no matter how much I rave about it. (That applies to all reviewer/previewers and not just me. It rarely pays to see something rated five stars on the say-so of a reviewer without at least checking what it it.)

But if you do like the sound of any of these, you can’t go wrong. Most of these are plays I’ve seen before, all of them are safe bets. In addition, all of them have wide audience appeal. I’m confident that anything that takes you fancy on this list won’t let you down.

Blue Blood

1535776-1-blue-blood-or-how-to-kill-your-way-to-top-1024-lst554356Most safe choices are plays that I’ve seen before; Blue Devil Theatre’s track record, however, is so good that their latest new play has gone straight to safe choice. Blue Devil has had a string of hits, mostly adaptations with an LGBT theme to them. Sometimes LGBT-themed plays are described as “niche”, but that’s definitely not the case here. Richard Bright and Ross Dinwiddy’s plays work on many levels, with their last production, The Tragedy of Dorian Gray being just as much about the shallow celebrity culture of the 1960s timeframe the play is transplanted to that the sexuality of a main character than Oscar Wilde could not have written.

This new play is based on a book with the little-known title of Israel Rank: The Autobiography of a Criminal, but it better known by the 1949 film adaptation Kind Hearts and Coronets. Gabriel Jones (as he is known in this play) is disowned by his family, and when the matriarch of the family dies, he’s frozen out, being only ninth in line for the Dukedom. Unless … Well, let’s just say that explains a lot about the alternative title of “How to kill you way to the top”.

Unfortunately (possibly connected to the loss of the Rialto where they usually perform), they only have a three-might run this time. So your only options are 15th – 17th May at 7.45 p.m. at Ironworks Studios. Also be aware this is a 2-hour play, a rare sighting at the big fringes. But it’s worth spending two hours of your time.

The Unknown Soldier

Brighton Fringe was very lucky The Rotunda came along when it did – without which many more acts caught up The Warren’s implosion would have had nowhere to go. And, in turn, one of the reasons Ross Ericson and Michelle Yim were in a position to take the plunge with a venue is the strength of their back catalogue as performers. This year, it’s a Ross Ericson-heavy back catalogue, with three of his plays on offer. And by far the safest bet is The Unknown Soldier, the hit that put Grist to the Mill on the map.

fdb95f_1575aa914f9a4add81cec1bfd5c74f4dI’ve plugged this many time before so I’ll keep this summary brief. In his smash hit monologue he plays on of the few soldiers on the front after the guns fall silent in World War One. He is a cynical soldier – one of the first the work out the real reason they’re burying soldiers where they fell instead of bring the bodies home is the impracticality to taking back that all the pieces. Meanwhile, the sorrow over the glorious dead is being overshadowed by the anger of the not-so-glorious wounded. And where does the famous unknown soldier fit into this? All will be explained. Showing 9th -11th May at The Rotunda at 6.00 p.m.

Also in the back catalogue is Gratiano, a very adventurous retelling of The Merchant of Venice in the era of Mussolini (23rd – 24th May, 7.30 p.m.), and a storytelling based version of Moby Dick (29th – 30th May, 7.45 p.m.). If the one you’re after isn’t on at the right time, all is not lost. Extra performances sometimes appear during the course of the fringe. Failing that, if you like this plays I reckon you’d like the last two.

Green Knight

The last two safe choices on the list are officially from different companies, but they work together quite closely and frequently go to the same venue at the same time. This year is no exception.

Sf58418_0811a596546c4d12bb88790c71137ad8mv2tarting with Green Knight, this was the project of Debbie Cannon, who’s turned her academic interest to theatre. I’ve seen a few people go into the fringe by this route; most of the time, they know their stuff inside out but struggle with the transition to storytelling. There’s none of that here though, and (thanks in a large extent to Flavia d’Avilia who directed this) she’s a natural on the stage.

This is a retelling of the tale of Sir Gawain as recalled by Lady Bertilak, and it is very, very clever. Debbie Cannon knows her mythology, and nothing in this legend has been changed. Sir Gawain is still a noble and selfless knight, and he’s still on a suicide mission after losing a bizarre bet. But the Lady Bertilak in this story as the Lady Bertilak that Sir Gawain never had a chance to know. If you know the story, you’ll be impressed by how well the retelling intertwines with the legend – and if you don’t know, the play builds up just as much tension as the original. Showing at 10th – 14th May at 6.00 p.m. at Sweet @ The Poets.

Old Bones

577c53_cef737a04260439fbb6a23f072407513mv2And the other half of the double bill is Daniel Hird, in a play by Jen McGregor. This is slightly more interactive one, about a young man who starts off playing a game of dice, which he always wins. The reasons he always wins is because of a deal he made with the Devil. In this story, the Devil does not screw you over by reinterpreting your wish into the worst thing possible. No, in this story, the Devil screws you over by giving you exactly what you asked for.

Before we get to the reason why this catches you out, however, we have our hero’s many adventures, from banishment, to a love rivalry gone horribly wrong, to the biggest loss of his life. I would have put this in safe choice regardless, but one (extremely niche) bonus is that this play was by biggest influence for my most recent project. Anyway, see this on 8th – 14th May at 4.30 p.m at Sweet @ The Poets.

Bold choice:

The next tier is for plays I have high hopes for, but where I have less certainty of the outcome. They can be new plays, adventurous twists on existing plays, plays which split opinion, and some plays I’ve seen before with more specialist interest. I have these for you:


I’m always keen to see what Different Theatre do. Sam Chittenden’s plays cover lots of different themes, and some work better than others, but everything she’s explored has been interesting in different ways. Her plays are described as feminist theatre, but again, what that means varies hugely. Some have this as the central theme, some are about female historical figures, but I always thought it’s most effective when the themes are understated. When something bad happens that is shrugged off as normal – whilst plain to the audience what has been excused.

01362-16735542640892-m-lst544174This one covers the theme of reproductive rights – but in a dystopian future where human contact is forbidden and IVF is the only way. Robots known as Fosterers do the job. When Bea and Jay are paired up, however, they get more attached to each other than stipulated. That’s all I know about this, so I’d love to know where this goes. Showing at The Lantern on 25th – 27th May at 7.00 p.m. then 28th & 29th May at 9.00 p.m.


Heather Alexander got my attention last year by inventing her own genre. Everybody’s heard of adaptations of novels, adaptations of short stories and adaptations of films, but this is the only time I’ve seen a stage adaptation of an essay. In this case it’s Virginia Woolf’s essay A Room of One’s Own about the lot of female writers, quite on-point for its day.

havishamThis year, however, it’s back to an adaptation based on Great Expectations, or, more accurately, the famous tragic villain of the story. There’s a lot to be explored here. Everybody knows Miss Havisham’s act of revenge she plotted, but why go to these lengths? Why orchestrate such an act of cruelty on an innocent party? Why not move on when her obsession was doing her no good? I can see Heather Alexander’s performance as Virginia Woolf translating well to this. You can see this at The Rotunda on the 11th – 13th May at 7.45 p.m.

Who is No 1?

The Foundry Group is one of the most respected regulars to Brighton Fringe with a string of hits under the creative leadership of Brian Mitchell and Joe Nixon. Last year they did Underdogs, nominally about a crazy world record attempt but really an idictment on the disdain London media has of the town up north. I liked that and it won the Offie for best Brighton Fringe show. My personal favourite, however, has to be Big Daddy versus Giant Haystacks, getting nostalgic for the days when Britain was the greatest country in the world for watching overweight men pretend to fight each other.

prisonerOne interest of theirs is the making of famous screenplays – apparently Nixon’s Jaws documentary “The Shark is Broken” did rather well. This is about the origins of the surreal cult 1960s TV series The Prisoner. (If you’ve never heard of this and you’re not sure what it’s about, don’t worry – none of us do.) You can see this at Latest Music Bar on 8th – 9th May at 7.30 p.m.

Alternatively, you can watch a rare musical number Lord God at Lionhouse, a house with a garden that keeps getting used for outdoor performances. 19th – 21st May at 7.30 p.m.


Next up, a couple of plays from people already in Safe Choice who have something new.

In addition to three plays from Grist to the Mill’s back catalogue, we have something new. If Debbie Cannon can have a hit with a retelling of Gawain from the view of another character, maybe we can do the same here with Dracula. Renfield is a minor character in Bram Stoker’s story: seemingly a deranged but harmless inmate in the lunatic asylum, but actually a devoted servant of Dracula and part of a plot to snare Mina into his grasp.

This was actually performed at Adelaide Fringe in 2020, but presumably owing to a notable interruption in proceedings has only just made it to this hemisphere. Showing at The Rotunda on the 16th May at 6.00 p.m. then 18th May at 7.30 p.m.

My Esteemed Friend

Daniel Hird’s smash hit Old Bones isn’t actually his play, although people often think it is. But he’s now taken the plunge and written a play for himself. As for what it’s about, however, this is one of the most cryptic descriptions I’ve seen. All I can really tell you as that there’s a search for a mysterious professor, a chess board, and related to the chess board, a question: “What use is a King that doesn’t protect his pawns?”

Beyond that, there’s little else I know about this. If you want to find out, it’s at Sweet @ The Poets at 9th – 14th May at Sweet @ The Poets at 8.30 p.m. This immediately follows Green Knight, which immediately follows Old Bones, so if you’re making the trek to Hove you might want to make this a triple bill.

Talking to the Dead

03-21-2023-104207-9885.jpgStaying with Sweet Venues, one of their regular acts is Griffin and Jones. They are primarily magicians, comedians and cabaret hosts, but they do occasionally branch out into into theatre. And their style very much suits branching out into horror and the occult. This is billed as an immersive show themed around a seance. There aren’t many theatre events that go late into the might, but this is one of them and it looks like it goes past midnight for a reason. Showing at Sweet @ the Poet’s on 1st – 3rd June at 11.00 p.m.

Jekyll and Hyde: a one-woman show

278830581_10158876194700756_1196150304480558715_nThis is the only play on the Bold Choice list that I’ve seen before, and it’s Bold Choice instead of safe choice because in order to make the most of this, you really need to be knowledgeable of the original story, or concentrating very hard. But if you can do this, it’s worth it for an interesting take on a gender-flip of the Robert Louis Stevenson story. What do you need to do to to change Mr. Hyde into Ms. Hyde? The answer … do it exactly the same. Heather Rose-Andrews takes on the characteristic of Hyde very convincingly, even the bits of the story you’d think couldn’t possibly work with a female character. And no matter how versed you are in the story, the transformation scene is phenomenal.

Short run this time, having already done Brighton and Edinburgh Fringes extensively, but tou can see this at Sweet @ The Poets on 18th – 20th May at 7.30 p.m.

This is Normal

And finally, one from Blue Dog Theatre. They came on to my radar last year with the excellent Moral Panic, set in the world of 1980s video nasties, a censor doing one of the best opening to a play including clipboard, tutting, and 1980s censor moustache.

Again, Blue Dog Theatre have gone a a short cryptic description, only that there’s a hospital porter re-evaluating his life and the meaning on “normal”, and it bills itself as a cross between Fleabag and This is Going to Hurt. It’s being performed in Conclave, which is a basement of an arts studio that’s not set up as a theatre space, but I was impressed with how they set it up for Moral Panic, so perhaps they’ll have something in store here. See it at Conclave on the 1st – 4th June at 7.00 p.m. (6 p.m. on 4th).

You can also see from Blue Dog The Landing Light Live, which is “three tales of terror”. One day only, two performances: 20th May, 7.30 p.m. and 9.00 p.m.

You might like:

This category is like safe choice in a lot of respects: they are usually things I’ve seen before, and if you like the description I’m confident you’ll like it yourself. However, whilst I expect safe choices to have wide appeal within the theatre category, here the rules are more relaxed. Some have more specialised interests, and some have appeal outside of the theatre genre. We have:


I saw this at Durham Fringe; it’s firmly in the dance/clowning category rather than theatre, but I enjoyed and I can recommend it as something different. As far as the story goes, our hero of unknown name is searching for the mysterious “Lulu”, but this is really a showcase in dance and physical theatre techniques. It also features a song called Straight to Number One which is an absolute banger. Oh, and I don’t normally repeat content warnings, but I must advise you that this performance does indeed feature mild twerking in diapers. If that doesn’t put you off, you can see this at The Rotunda on the 23rd – 25th May, 6.00 p.m.

Fabulett 1933

fabulet_credit_georginaboltonkingI saw Michael Trauffer’s solo musical at last year’s Edinburgh Fringe. Between the end of World War One and the grip of the Nazis, there was a brief spell of decadence/acceptance in Berlin, amongst them Felix: one searching for refuge from a judgemental father, now the MC of a club so heodnistic it makes The Rocky Horror Show look like Andy Pandy. The focus is mostly on the early gay rights movement and doesn’t say much about the rise of the Nazis, but the play is really a celebration of the former. And the message of the closing club is fitting: we will be back eventually, perhaps not us, but people like us. You can see this at The Actors on 18th – 21st May at 8.00 p.m.

Stories in the Garden: Atalanta the Adventurer

Actors of Dionysus were one of the groups who were determined to produce their play in 2020, and they impressed me, but with their determination, and their staging in the garden of a house in Hanover. Frustratingly (and I’m sure I’m not the only person crying out for this), I’ve never seen any sign of a follow-up. But we do have the next best thing: a family show called Atlanta the Adventurer, who sailed with Jason and the Argonauts. This is in their home turf of Lionhouse, so do allow time to get there, but they are so good at setting up the garden and the windows inside the house for their performances it should be something memorable. Two performances per day on 20th & 21st May, 11.00 p.m. and 1.00 p.m.

Geoff Mead’s Tours

And finally, something that is nothing to do with the performing arts at all,Many tour guides work off a script, but Geoff Mead has an encyclopaedic knowledge, and I was amazed by how much he knew in response to any question thrown at him. These tours take place on weekends (usually morning or early afternoon), one for Clifton and Montpelier to the west, and the other on London Road to the north. And new to 2023, the Pavilion Garden Cafe have drafted him for a third tour for the cafe’s history back to the 1920s, also featuring other tidbits of history around the city centre. If you’re regular visitor to Brighton for the Fringe, or even if you’re a Brighton Local wanting to know more about your home city, it’s worth doing this for a change.


My last category in theatre recommendations is for shows where I don’t know whether or not they are any good – but for one reason or another, they’ve grabbed my interest. And with over 800 things in the programme, grabbing my interest from zero is an achievement in itself.

Toy Stories

Brighton Fringe isn’t quite as dominated as big venue chains as it was pre-2020, but it’s still easy to forget that there’s a whole load of little venues out there, with the number of shows hosted in single figures. Some venues are associated with performing group (such as Actors of Dionysus’s favourite spot Lionhouse), but there’s other distinctive venues with their own flavour. One such venue is Brighton Toy Museum, and what is more fitting that a performance about toys? Descrived as “part stand-up comedy, part performance lecture”, this is said to come from Chris Dobrowolski being trapped in lockdown in the house where he grew up and rediscovering works of art from his childhood. The scope looks quite ambitious, but if you want to see how this fares, it’s on 16th – 21st May at 6.15 p.m. in Brighton Toy and Model Museum, underneath Brighton station.

Lachlan Werner: Voices of evil

lachlan_wernerI saw an extract of this show at Brighton Horrorfest. This would easily make it into my comedy picks because Lachlan Werner is an insanely good ventriloquist, but it also gets on to my Wildcard list for theatre because the story looked promising. Rather than the straightforward ventriloquist sitting a dummy on his knee and saying “Hello kids”, Lachlan’s show goes with the premise of himself dressed as a schoolboy/choirboy whilst being bossed around in a sinister way by a puppet witch. A safe bet with the comedy but many something to offer in the theatre camp too. Just one performance this time, 26th May at 6.30 p.m. at Spiegeltent.

A Guide to Therapy for Terrible People

Fvg47vTWcAAqwktAnd finally, a rare entry into the wildcards from something that stands out for its bizarreness. And this is an achievement – Brighton Fringe in particular is chock-a-block of bizarre ideas. And besides, ever since I saw Blood and Bone featuring a graphic sex scene between puppet plants, it takes a lot of get my attention this way. And Joe Kirkwood has done it with Guinea Pig Jesus. This is in a show called “A Guide to Therapy for Terrible People”, which is on the subject matter of therapy and thinking horrible things about yourself – neither of which, I must say, have an obvious connection with a domesticated rodent / South American delicacy (deleted as applicable) who died for our sins. But well done, you’ve got me wondering what this is all about. Catch it at the Caxton Arms on 8th – 13th May, usually (but not always) at 6.45 p.m if you’d like to know.

Also of note:

There is one other thing that’s not eligible for my recommendations, as I was a venue host and techie for an earlier version of the show. However, I think I’m allowed to mention this as something objectively noteworthy.

Experiment Human

06-15-2022-171712-6155.jpgHaving overseen a venue for Durham Fringe, it would be against the rules for me to rate some shows over others, but there can be little doubt that surprise hit was Hooky Productions. Sisters Maya and Rosa plays Monkions, based on creatures they imagined as children. It’s always kept vague whether they’re aliens, creatures who’ve lived on earth all this time, or something else, but the key thing is that they never quite understood how human emotions work. To find out, they’ve kidnapped Benedict Cumberbatch to find out.

If you’ve seen this on last year’s run (London, Durham and Edinburgh), I am told on good authority the script has been reworked. It’s a very abstract show and people have come up with all sorts of interpretations, but in my Durham Fringe shoes this is my proudest moment to date for the small part we played in this winning the Brighton Fringe Award for Excellence. You can see this at The Rotunda on the 17th – 21st May at 6.00 p.m.

From the comedy:

And finally, this is a theatre blog, but from time to time I see things firmly in the comedy category. Here’s some things I’ve seen from fringes gone by that I recommend.

10 films with my dad

There are many kinds of stand-up set, but Aidan Goatley’s series is the only one I’ve described as “wholesome”. I saw the third one in the series, The 12 films of Christmas, which has gentle humour such as the Christmas Film question: could it be played by Muppets? This year, it’s a change to see the one that started this all off, in a lovely homage to watching films together. Showing 6th & 7th May and 3rd & 4th June (that’s the first at last weekend) at Sweet @ the Poets at 4.30 p.m.

Crime Scene Improvisation

There’s a lot of shows that create murder mysteries on the fly, but this one is one of the most accomplished. One thing that’s inevitable to most improv shows is that sooner or later somebody’s going to make a mistake. Good troupes make the mistake funny, but this lot can take it one step further and can based the whole story around the mistake. Also features a democratised ending where the murderer is decided on public vote, with the guilty party giving you the most speedily composed confession. At Caravanserai on 20th & 21st May at 5.00 p.m. then 3rd June at 4.00 p.m.

Finlay and Joe: Perpetual Hype Machine

11-20-2022-175835-3975Saw this sketch duo at last year’s Edinburgh Fringe, and it was a lot of fun. This actually predates the hype over Ai-written plays, but the premise is that they’ve invented a new machine to automate sketch creation – let’s just hope the machine doesn’t turn out to be evil and take over the world. Featuring a lot of nerd humour building up to the denouement with Paddington’s arch-enemy (again, pre-dating Paddington’s cameo a month later). On 6th, 13th & 17th May at Laughing Horse (various venues, various times)

Biscuit Barrel

Another sketch group, which I saw two Durham Fringes back, this one goes for the theme of a “hyperactive” sketch show, zipping through 69 sketches in an hour. Expect sketches to range from absolute groaners (e.g. “Oh No, it’s my X” – you’ll see) to some twisted sketches (e.g. the Mickey Mouse smoothie “Come on Mickey, we talked about this, it’s time”). Three performances over 20th & 21st May at Spiegeltent.


0a6218_f13ac709de6d496aa23af4ce585c20femv2_d_1600_1200_s_2And finally, long-running fringe favourite Notflix, who create a musical on the fly, chosen at the start of the performance for a film to be made into a cheesy musical. They, along with Showstoppers, are insanely musically talented ensemble – and rather than rely a set of stock melodies to improvise lyrics to, they really do improvise the whole songs as they go along with the instruments played live. There’s just one performance this time, which is at Caravanserai on the 31st May at 7.15 p.m.

And finally, we’re done. have a good fringe.


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