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Variety is the spice of Brighton Fringe

Press Image The Table T 200x300 Variety is the spice of Brighton FringeAt last.

The abject misery of a month’s rain in a week gave way to beautiful sunshine. Just in time for the thousands that gathered at Fringe City to see the Saturday afternoon outdoor entertainment, joined this weekend by all the trendy music types attending the Great Escape.

Globally there have been record attendances so far though. After all, where else could you catch anything from a talk with Tony Benn, all-you-can-eat comedy, a panoply kids’ shows or the Lady Boys of Bangkok?  In fact, the thing that really strikes you about Brighton Fringe is the sheer kaleidoscope of what’s on offer.  I’ve seen 15 shows in the past week, and it has been but an added bonus to enjoy a few of them without wet feet.  And anyway, what better reason to shelter from the elements?

A few choice morsels…

In Gogol at the Latest Music Bar, Brian Capron (he of Coronation Street fame), plays a tortured loner echoing the themes of the Overcoat, the Nose and other tales.  I saw the first performance where, although not quite mad enough just yet, it was an impressive tour de force that will no doubt develop into something quite special.

The Table at the Old Market is a seminal piece of puppetry that left me in complete awe, not just at the narrative but also at the skill and teamwork of the puppeteers.

I ‘dipped my toe’ in the Department of Unreliable Memoirs to hear a verbatim story chosen at the roll of some dice and visited A Small Museum of the Displaced Sea to listen to recordings of local people talk about their memories. I have discovered that these bathing machines offer a marvellous chill-out interlude to a busy day – a real treat.

Finally, in a one-off performance of his show Soul to Soul (I have a dream) at Komedia, Movin’ Melvin Brown, supported by a five piece band and backing singers, took us on a journey through the development of black music and dance in America through the ages.  It was really the perfect end to a perfect week. I defy anyone not to enjoy it.

My highlight to come is the long-awaited arrival of the Hendrick’s Library of Delightfully Peculiar Writings.  The programme there is something really quite special.  If it’s possible, things here are about to get even better…

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