Arts Derbyshire


Challenging theatre with plenty of twists at this year’s Buxton Fringe

Buxton Fringe’s large theatre category can be relied upon to tackle big subjects in exciting new ways.

Exploring the impact of tragedy, two traumatic events are addressed in powerful new productions. 97+ from Tom Cain Theatre with the Hillsborough Survivors Support Alliance addresses the aftermath of that event. Now in middle age, John and Steve deal with the trauma they suffered. Buxton Fringe Award Winners two years running, Spanner In The Works returns with What If, the story of one mother’s loss amid the Shankill Road bombing, Belfast 1993, in a combination of wonderful writing and insightful acting.

There is always a twist on the classics at the Fringe, and Room is a unique interpretation of Virginia Woolf’s A Room of One’s Own, exploring gender, creativity and thwarted opportunity in a provocative production. Grist to the Mill Productions are running a series of their successful productions: Gratiano – a sequel to The Merchant of Venice and an epic retelling of Moby Dick, as well as the Edfringe sell-out First World War drama The Unknown Soldier.

Dark Horse by Delila Theatre is an adaptation of Tennessee Williams’ The Yellow Bird, performed alongside Dede, an age-old story of betrayal and power struggles. Split Infinitive also references Williams in A Caravan of Desire, looking at the ups and downs of working from a caravan. Clients come and go, ask them no questions and they’ll tell you no lies, but something’s different about this new client.

Some intriguing productions delve into the supernatural. St Nicholas features Nick Danan, who gave Buxton a memorable Fringe Award-winning Macbeth. In this tale by Conor McPherson, a jaded theatre critic falls for a beautiful young actress. In pursuing her, he meets a group of modern-day vampires who offer him eternal life. Act284’s The Enfield Poltergeist is based on true events. Maurice gets involved in psychical investigations after losing his daughter, but he is haunted by coincidences in paranormal activity around one particular girl.

There are some storytelling treats in store as Dylan Howells and Joe Sellman-Leava, from last year’s hit Fanboy, team up for Saint George and Other Stories. Audiences will experience uncomfortable truths in a wild family dinner, then journey to the late 1990s on St George’s Day to hear tales of friendship, myths, and dragons! In Unwanted Objects, David Head and Matt Glover present a magical exploration of the meaning we attach to our possessions as they find a tale worth telling in every item in a mysterious second-hand shop.

There is always a feast of exciting New Writing at the Fringe. Amongst the new works comes Lost and Found from the prolific Breathe Out Theatre. Two strangers meet on the bank of a river, a grandmother fishing while her granddaughter sleeps, and a treasure-hunter not finding any treasure. Striking Feet is a new play about the two year long strike by Eyam and Stoney Middleton shoe workers between 1918 and 1920, as the mainly female strikers face an epic struggle against stubborn and vindictive employers. Thirsty theatre-goers can meanwhile join a friendly bartender on a journey through The Seven Deadly Gins from Gekkota Arts. From technological tiffs to funeral feuds, audiences can raise a glass to an anthology of mixology.

There is an exciting online and international element to the Fringe as the On the Spot Theatre Company from Chicago presents the world premiere of the comedy, Beside Myself. Douglas’ dreams have left him feeling there is more to himself. Does he have a doppelganger? A biographer of anonymous souls, he confronts his unsupportive family. Find out what happens when Douglas tries to make himself whole.

Fringe Chair Stephen Walker says: “This is what Fringe theatre is all about with performers not afraid to come up with experimental new material and to explore dark, exciting subject matter.”

Further theatre treats can be discovered on and on the free to download Buxton Fringe App.

The Fringe wishes to thank High Peak Borough Council, its Fringe Friends and the town’s many Fringe supporters and venues.

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