As Fringe fever broke in an excitable sweat across our brows yesterday evening we prepared to tackle the first night in style, lining up 4 shows back to back - a theatre, comedy and cabaret sandwich all washed down with booze. The joy of a fringe festival is that you never quite know what you're going get so what luck that we avoided any turkeys, shows were really well attended and we finished the night feeling brilliant.
6pm at Etcetera and we kick off with Monsieur Proust and his Stripper - an intense two-hander that reveals Proust was a big fat lecherous bastard who couldn't wipe his own arse. Shame that the scene changes were quite so rapid and mainly marked by one actor putting his coat on and then off. A climactic ending and plenty of sexual tension, if a tad bemusing but worth it for the handy Proust redux.
7.15pm at Camden Head. Rosie Wilby comes on in a lab coat and asks us about our sex lives. This should be a hilarious show, because sex is fundamentally funny, but Rosie never ramps it up beyond mildly amusing. The audience warm to her but maybe that's because it's so frigging hot in the room and we've all been drinking.
8.30pm and we're running a bit late for Cabaret Whore not least because half the audience got trapped downstairs amongst 4 teams of netball players. Nevermind though, because Sarah-Louise Young's outrageously funny and flawlessly performed twisted cabaret triple turn as a philosophical nymphomaniac country and western singer, repressed middle class librarian who craves reality TV fame and the Piaf hating, dark chanteuse brandishing a kitchen knife and wishing pain on everyone, especially Sarkozy is just stand out brilliant. You'll have to travel up to Edinburgh to catch her and her beautiful voice again soon. She's on the Free Fringe up there (but make sure you give her money or she may well come after you with that knife).
10.30pm and the Oxford Arms pub quiz is in full shouty swing as we queue for Three Shit Hot Shorts. This was a wildcard and by gum we're glad we stayed to play it. The shorts by Dean Stalham are bitingly concise, tensely dramatic and very compelling. By turn, a woman goads a meek man into admitting his wild sexual desires, a middle class chap wanders into an East End boozer not realising the boundaries he's transgressing and a young homeless girl and an old vagrant cling to each other on Christmas Eve, dysfunctional and heartbreaking but dreadfully human. (On till Friday — HIGHLY RECOMMENDED).
More reviews to come!
Get down there and try something out. Camden Fringe runs until 30th August. All tickets £7.50. Check out other Fringe coverage on Londonist. Tell us what you've seen in the comments.