Brighton Fringe 2012: laughing through the blood, sweat and tears
Wherever you go, you can see the crazy eyes of producers, performers, staff and volunteers who have just given their all, emotionally, financially or both to put on an unforgettable show or event. It moves and humbles me to be part of this.
Brighton Fringe is, above all, a national and international market place for showcasing talent and new work in a way which, increasingly, is rivalling even the mighty Edinburgh Fringe. It is difficult to find enough superlatives. And that is unlike me. I must have seen 40 or 50 shows, a mere fraction of the 720+ in this year’s programme. Not all are great but each one represents a crucial ingredient of the fabric of Brighton Fringe and each one stirs debate, disagreement and inspiration.
There were several unexpected moments for me too. Whether it be the Brighton Gay Men’s Chorus, Lynn Ruth Miller’s new piece at the Latest Music Bar, The Cheeky Chappie at the Marlborough or even watching my kids’ faces engrossed in a children’s show, in each case I found myself at times in fits of laughter but then suddenly struggling to hold back the tears too.
We have seen vital new additions to Brighton Fringe this year, most notably the brilliant Hurly Burly family venue and the Warren. The Warren in particular has had no fewer than 3 Argus Angels and at least ten 5 star reviews – unprecedented for a new venue, truly heralding a new force to be reckoned with in Brighton and beyond.
There are emotional farewells too. Dip Your Toe’s bathing machines, assembled along Madeira Drive for one time only to say goodbye to Lone Twin’s boat is a thing of beauty. We were also treated to some beautiful music for the Ship’s Log at the Nightingale, specially written for this Cultural Olympiad project.
So, as I watch the flags for the Hanging Gardens of Brighton fluttering in the sunshine of the Old Steine, I bask in the possibilities. The fact that next year’s Brighton Fringe will run 4 weeks into the second May bank holiday and half term could potentially double the size and considerably develop audiences too.
But it’s not completely over yet as Brighton Fringe continues as ‘Brighton in the Square’ at Leicester Square Theatre. So if you missed it here, you may be able to catch it there soon.
And then Brighton gets back to normal again, or as ‘normal’ as Brighton ever can be. The Fringe is over for another year. But it lives on in the hearts and minds of everyone who was lucky enough to experience it. If you didn’t, maybe one day you will, too.Tagged in: Brighton Fringe
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