Arts Derbyshire


Theatre laughs at Buxton Fringe

There are plenty of laughs to be had in this year’s Buxton Fringe Theatre programme.

Hambledon Productions have an inventive take on Herman Melville’s classic tale of revenge in Maybe Dick in which all plot will be lampooned, and all jokes will be harpooned. There’s another parody in Star Warts: A New Hip, as ReZolution present a bold theatrical interpretation of what they call “the mostest lovedest cinematical experiences of the 20th century”.

Buxton Drama League presents an intriguing staging of Jim Cartwright’s modern classic Two in an actual bar. A stream of customers share their secrets and lives over beers and shots with two actors switching between 14 characters as the play hurtles towards last orders and a powerful showdown. Library Theatre presents a favourite Alan Bennett Talking Heads monologue, A Lady of Letters. Miss Ruddock writes letters to assert her dearly felt civil liberties, but one of these missives has unexpected consequences.

In Whose Round is it Anyway? Three poets hold their first post-pandemic meetup in a pub. With a rich mix of banter, social comment, and highly-crafted, accessible poetry, this ingenious play was a prize winner at Morecambe Fringe.

For those who prefer their comedy with a darker twist, there are exciting playsfrom some top Fringe performers. Last year’s New Writing award winner PJ Vickers returns with Nation, a comic noir set around the Paris attacks in which a drifter plans a spiritual transformation in the story of a murder that is not a murder.

Acclaimed for her one-woman Jekyll and Hyde, Heather-Rose Andrews returns with The Final Girl, a darkly comic look at horror films, the women who endure them, and why we are compelled to watch no matter how gory it gets. Meanwhile, somewhere out there is a creature so terrifying, most humans dare not speak its name – the Bisexual! In a brand-new show from multi award-winning Off-Off-Off-Broadway Company, horror B movie meets folklore storytelling and multimedia, in an exploration of life as a bi man.

There are more references to the movies in the visceral and genuinely scary Revenant. Carter has found the perfect island location for his zombie movie, but only three days to shoot it, and no lead actor – until the mysterious Vardell arrives. Airbell, a second show from the popular ReZolution, is dark in all senses as two inexperienced spelunkers trapped in a cave relive the poor choices and mistakes that have got them this far; it adds up to a comedy of tight spaces, childhood and poorly equipped amateurs.

In Goodbye Uncle Fudgey, Tom Greaves trips between the world of his own stifled vulnerability and that of his comical caricature, Uncle Fudgey, in a satisfyingly disturbing comic satire about trauma. Another troubled soul finds escape from a confusing world in the beauty of nature in Steve Vertigo’s Murmuration, but it’s not long before this escape is threatened in a joyful, surreal, comedy tale of avian adventure, AI and 38,000 starlings.

Fringe chair Stephen Walker says: “It’s good to see how some performers are finding light-hearted ways to tackle fascinating subjects in this year’s exciting theatre programme.”

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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