Brighton Fringe: Is literature the new rock ‘n’ roll?

Nione Meakin

Press Images Hendricks Library of Delightfully Peculiar Writings1 300x199 Brighton Fringe: Is literature the new rock ‘n’ roll? First things first, literature is quite clearly not the new rock ‘n’ roll, just as pink is not the new black and Olly Murs is not the new John Lennon.

But one can’t fail to notice how the genre has become, well, a bit cooler of late. Sit in a humid tent and listen to a writer blather on earnestly to an interviewer? Not so much. We have entered a period of literary ‘death-matches’ (a highbrow X Factor) and live salons of the kind run by Brighton Fringe trustee Damian Barr, whose raucous nights at Shoreditch House would see him kicked out of most libraries. Books are not just to be relished alone with a cup of tea and a rain storm, they are to be shared and experienced live – and in that sense at least, we’re edging closer to music.

Barr’s influence can be felt at the Fringe in the arrival of the Hendricks Library of Delightfully Peculiar Writings, a collection of literature-themed events incorporating everything from taxidermy to flash fiction slams, all doused in generous helpings of gin (what else?).

Trailblaze Theatre Company’s A Dirty Martini with Evelyn Waugh invites audiences to choose their own adventure, with a range of twists and turns set to make for an entirely different performance every night. Meanwhile, Dickens’ bi-centenary is celebrated in a way he’d surely approve of in a cabaret featuring many of the author’s best-known characters, while infamous London hellraisers The Last Tuesday Society take on silent films and famous fictional festivities in The Magician and Reveller’s Digest.

Personally, I’ll be taking a morbid peek at Stuffing Peter Rabbit, where taxidermist Lee Paton will be telling a strictly post-watershed tale involving one very dead bunny being brought back into being, for one night only.

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