Category Archives: Previews

What’s worth watching: Buxton Fringe 2017

Fringe Sunday

Aaargh. I’m on my train to the Buxton Fringe launch and I still haven’t done my Buxton recommendations. Better hurry up. Apologies if you’re waiting for a review, that will have to come after this.

Anyway, Buxton Fringe 2017 is here. The most unpredictable for a long time, due to the loss of a key venue that formed a focal point for the whole fringe. For months, there were questions over whether a new venue would take its place. And when we found out the answer, the were there were questions over what this would mean for the fringe. But the development no-one saw coming was the arrival of an entirely new managed venue. Suddenly, all bets were off.

So, before I dive into recommendations, let us begin with this and look at what this could mean for the festival. Continue reading

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Northern Stage’s autumn 2017 launch

alice20brochure20postal20permissions201Here’s a brand new thing on this blog: a preview of a season of an individual theatre. For some reason, I got invited to the launch of Northern Stage’s next season. (Actually, I think this may have been the second of two launches, in which case I was on the B-list, but never mind.) So, in return, I am going to write a preview on what’s to come. Any other theatres who want this service, you’re welcome to do the same. 🙂

Just to lay down one ground rule before we begin: this is not going to be a comprehensive list of everything that’s coming up. If you want that, I think North East Theatre Guide is running their original press release. What it does mean, however, is that everything that’s listed here has properly grabbed my interest – nothing below has been included out of any sense of duty. Continue reading

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What’s worth watching: spring/summer 2017

This is a bit later than normal owing to all the Brighton Fringe coverage I’m in the thick of writing, but there’s also a new season of stuff coming up in the north-east. Annoyingly, I can’t be sure this is the full list because Live and Northern Stage don’t announce their new programmes until later this month, so there’s a chance they might have a gem up their sleeves that I don’t yet know about. If they do, I will add this to the list as soon as I know about it.

Yes, I know it’s June so some people might say “How can this include spring”, but I’m using the atronomical definition where spring runs until the summer solstice on June 21st, so ner.

Remember, a cross section, not an exhaustive list. A cross section, not an exhaustive list. A cross section, not an exhaustive list. That’s the only rule I need highlight, rest of the rules are here. So, what is there to look forward to? Continue reading

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What’s worth watching: Brighton Fringe 2017

Brighton Pier

And here it comes. Festival fringe season is almost upon us. The Vault Festival is a decent stop-gap in February, but for me, nothing beats the thrill of a festival where anyone can take part and, in theory at least, anyone can be the highlight of the whole festival. As always, the more I know about these festivals, the longer the list gets, so expect this to come in stages.

Last year I started off in quite a bit of detail about how Brighton Fringe was changing. The arrival of Sweet Venues and an unprecedented 20% expansion in entries suddenly made this fringe a much bigger event. This year, there’s been more modest changes, and more of the same: a further 7% increase in registrations, and Sweet Venues stays broadly in the same venues, taking on a new one for the sole use of a stage version of Trainspotting. The only disappointing news as that Republic, a venue similar to Spiegeltent, is not coming back this year – it seems this city ain’t big enough for two Spiegeltents.

Anyway, let’s get on. Full rules of how I make recommendations here. Most important one to repeat yet again: I only know about a fraction of the stuff going on in Brighton. So treat this as a cross-section of the good stuff out there, not an exhaustive list.

Right, so what have I got for you? Continue reading

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What’s worth watching: winter/spring 2017

I’m not quite done with 2016. I’ve got three final shows performed very close to Christmas that need reviews (two of which you can work out from the last article, the other which you can work out with a bit of sleuthdom), but 2017 is already underway and I’ve a whole new list of recommendations to go through. It’s a long one this time. My lists might be getting longer because I’m getting to know more good theatre companies, but there’s also quite a bit of good stuff coming from the usual suspects.

To save me repeating myself every time, I’ve written up a Recommendations Policy to explain how this works. Please bear in mind that I make the rules up as I go along and what I said yesterday might be wildly out of date next week. If you can’t be bothered to read through that, the only thing you need to remember is that this is a cross-section of the good stuff out there, not an exhaustive list.

So what can I recommend for you? Continue reading

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What’s worth watching: autumn/winter 2016

Autumn equinox has just gone, putting an end a period over the first three weeks of September where people violently argue over whether it’s already autumn (as per the meteorological definition) or still summer (as per the astronomical definition). So now that you’ve all finished arguing over that, let’s go into this list of recommendations.

You know the score by now: I’ve searched the listing of the north-east theatres and looked for stuff that grabbed my attention, but this is a cross-section of stuff out there worth watching, and not an exhaustive list. For future reference, if I have seen you before and reviewed you favourably, you are encouraged to send me press releases for new projects if you’d like to be included here – I will probably pick up on what you’re doing anyway, but sometimes things escape my attention and a press release is a good backup. If I have not seen you before, it is unlikely you’ll get on to this list – invite me to review you and I might get you on the list in future seasons. Continue reading

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What’s Worth Watching: Edinburgh Fringe 2016

Yeek. Fringe officially starts tomorrow. Better get a move on with this. I’ve done my usual scan through the fringe programme and picked out things that grabbed my attention. And to keep to size down to something manageable, I am restricting my list to acts I’ve seen before (with one exception that I couldn’t resist). Even so, the list is getting longer, and I may struggle to see all of these in the time I have in Edinburgh.

As usual, please treat this as a cross-section of the good stuff out there, not a comprehensive top 25 of the entire fringe or whatever. The vast majority of things in the programme are people I’ve never heard of who could be great, good, mediocre or shit. There are quite a few plays I’ve heard good things about from other reviewers, but they won’t come on to this list until I see it for myself. If you want to see a list that gives fair consideration to all plays across the whole programme, there are arts publications that aim to do that, but for me it’s down to what I’ve happened to see, and in a festival of this size, this largely comes down to chance.

Enough disclaimers though. What have I got for you? Continue reading

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