Greater Manchester Fringe Festival
I have never attended the Fringe Festival before. I have always said that I would love to but some how life seems to get in the way. I decided to change that and months ago I booked tickets for 8 performances. In my first Fringe week I have seen 4 of them and every single one has been so different from the rest.
The Dead, Live
Night one we went to The Dead, Live by Daniel Thackeray a Scytheplays performance. The strange tale of Lawrence Dodds a fake medium. Slowly his secret unravels in this dark tale that would fit in with all the classic ghost tales I read when I was younger, that's not to say it was predictable because it was full of surprises all the way through.
Strangely comedic, eerie and spine chilling. This performance made people jump but more than that it left that feeling of dread and the emptiness of not knowing what lies beyond in the spirit world. It was a very cleverly done ominous piece of theatre. I would recommend it to anyone who likes their tales curious, dark and deeply unsettling.
Car Park King
The next night could not have been more different. A historical comedy, Car Park King by Every Egg A Bird Theatre Company.
This was described in the Fringe listings as "A drop of Monty Python, a dash of Blackadder and a sprinkle of Spike Milligan and you have a side-splitting, unmissable new comedy", it sounded too good to be true.
It wasn't this play had us all in stitches. The acting was superb, the characters were hilarious and the sock puppet was a real treat.
The three actors played an array of characters, more than I thought was possible in just an hour with just two of them constantly changing, everything from voices to their height.
There was laughter from the word go, one liners a plenty and absolute comedy gold moments all the way through. Mixed with a story of terror and treason it made for an absolutely fantastic night.
Jumping to something entirely different yet again on Saturday we watched Jeu Jeu La Foilles Frontal Lobotomy.
A mixture of cabaret, medical history and Tom Waits. Stunning and absolutely not what I expected at all, managing to be hilarious, dark and sexy I was so glad I went. Discussing the works of Walter Freeman and sensually dancing with an Orbitoclast Jeu Jeu La Foille was entrancing.
The performance was captivating, thought provoking and incredibly interesting. I loved the Tom Waits references and medical facts, having recently been reading up on Walter Freeman I was definitely curious to see someone else's take on his life's work and this piece was insightful. An incredibly well researched and innovative evening. Go see it if you like your nights with a touch of macabre sensual comedy.
Last night I sat in the middle of Manchester and watched Wood, by Boxed In Theatre. A performance with no back stage areas only tents. It starts with the audience sitting looking at a young dead man on the floor in the middle, this caused a really intriguing build up giving time to really think about what may have happened to him.
This play is done in a very simple and effective way. It is hugely full of emotion, every little scene is packed with feeling. There wasn't a moment when the actors broke character, their acting even when they weren't speaking or focused on was great.
Watching the characters histories come to light and seeing them learn about themselves and their own sexuality, reflecting with them on the very nature of sexuality.
I really loved the idea of taking the audience outside and immersing them in the environment and the characters lives to make them feel more connected with the story. This piece may have been a simple performance but it was deep and quite genius. They are performing every night till the 17th in the centre of Manchester, swapping genders each night, treating the audience to two very different performances. I will definitely be trying to see it again gender switched. I seriously recommend checking this out.
All in all the first week of fringe was definitely a hit with me. I am super excited about what else I am seeing.