We’ve all had enough of Brexit. But, our prediction for this year’s Fringe is that it will be a continual elephant in the room, poignantly ignored if not tackled explicitly. So why not face the beast head on in a cosy, silly, yet surprisingly academic show from comedian Kieran Hodgson? ‘75 fumbles around the 70s for the root of Britain’s beef with Europe, journeying back to the other referendum in 1975, when the UK voted to remain a part of the European Communities. Hodgson uses his impressive vocal versatility and characterisation to embody the arguments of politicians past, throwing around various vibrant pop culture analogies in hope that it may shed some light on our current climate. Hodgson examines the history of England’s relationship with Europe with an endearing eagerness that borders on obsession. Allow the politicians of bygone years to take you through Britain’s rocky relationship with Europe.
Emerging experimental theatre group Sh!t Theatre like dogs, Dolly Parton and money. And as it turns out, money has a lot of power. Set in a recreation of ‘The Pub’ (because nothing says home away from home more than a pub), Sh!t Theatre take you on an immersive journey to sunny Malta, where money can get you anything from cheap local beer to citizenship of a new country. But on the horizon storms threaten the migrants’ boats approaching the island for help. A play about Brexit and about Malta without being 100% about either, this play is a riot, a Maltese shanty (with a side of free rum) and a chilling look at how easy it can be to party away the encroaching reality of migration crisis and corruption. Their energy and honesty proves that Sh!t Theatre are worth the hype. Bonus points if you’re an Oliver Reed fan.
Gig theatre is one of the biggest emerging forms of theatre in recent years, and Electrolyte by Wildcard Theatre proves that this genre deserves its place on the top table. This production centres around Jessie, a lost twenty-something in Leeds who embraces a world of late nights and coke lines to distract from her own tragic loss. This is gig theatre at the top of its game, dirt-under-the-fingernails music where every beat pulsates the raw emotions of the performance with a mix of electronica and rock. At the heart of the performance is mental health – the struggle of coping with loss, letting go and, most importantly, forgiving yourself. This loving ensemble production is also ultimately an anthem to friendship. Energetic, intense and often haunting, with a poetically stunning script, this irresistible performance promises to leave you affected long after it has finished.
If you’re looking to flex your audience participation muscles, head down to Pleasance Courtyard for an honest and engaging one-woman show, balancing comedy with a chilling consideration of manipulative relationships. An apologetic Meadow Rain, armed with an assortment of props, is throwing a party for her best friend. As the party continues, she will draw her audience further into her world of close friendships, controlling relationships and angelfish. Meadow’s sweetness and slight immaturity provide a freshness to her character that will entice you into this emotionally evocative narrative. This performance by On the Run Theatre is also partnered with UK SAYS NO MORE, a nationwide awareness campaign committed to ending Domestic Violence, making it both an appealing piece of theatre and part of a much-need campaign to change the narrative around domestic abuse. This is one for all the true crime fans out there.
As a fascination with real and horrific murders becomes more popular, four colleagues bond over the chilling case of a serial killer who was never caught –Bible John. As the play journeys from the mundane to the macabre, these new friends dive down the rabbit hole of twists, turns and theories and – eventually – surrounded by the debris of the case, are forced to face a chilling reality that’s too easy to forget is real. Bible John takes a frank look at our fascination with violence and victimhood, and offers a fascinating consideration of the unique relationship between the (largely) female audience of this genre and the gender imbalance of murderer and victim. Poor Michelle are not afraid to directly address the audience’s own complicity in dehumanisation and sensationalism which we are often guilty of when indulging in the latest story of murder. A subject matter realised with frankness and maturity by four talented performers, although with some questionable Scottish accents.
Image Credits: Matt Stronge, Sh!t Theatre, Wildcard Theatre, Ali Wright and Poor Michelle