Camden Fringe Week One Round-Up

By Londonist Last edited 76 months ago
Camden Fringe Week One Round-Up

What we saw, what we thought, what others said and what to see.


What we saw

The first stand-up show of the Fringe: James W Smith, Living in Syntax. We tweeted 'Genial, likes ham and Boggle. Funny. Better than thinks he is. Shame it's one night only'. Now performing at the Free Fringe, Edinburgh. Follow his adventures and jokes @jw_smith

Last Fringe we saw Matt Kirshen do a last minute spot at Sheephaven Bay. A year later, some of the material's the same but he's got a proper good show together that had us hooting. We twooted: 'Matt Kirshen is confessional & political, charming & wonderful. If you like thoughtful comedy see him tomorrow'. But he's gone up to Edinburgh now so follow him @MattKirshen.

Our sciencey friend Helen Keen did new show 'Robot Woman of the Future'. She was bursting with earnest enthusiasm and nerdy charm, a delight to watch, and jam-packed with ideas - but, while slideshows, sing-a-longs and shadow puppets all featured, it lacked any real cohesion or a satisfactory ending. Good, and a geeky delight, but right now is a little under-polished. 'Bubbly and charmingly self-effacing' says the review on Fringe Report. She's doing a Spacetacular at the Edinburgh Free Fringe shortly.

Marc Burrows kept it short and simple with the 90s in Half an Hour. He mined a rich vein of nostalgia from the decade-before-last without ONCE resorting to a 'Look Back In Anger' gag, somehow. The material straddled biographic with actual reflection a little shakily, and, as a performance, lacked momentum, but there was potential there and we would've happily sat through '90s In A Whole Hour. We wish him luck at the Free Fringe.

Poet and funnyman Richard Tyrone Jones Has a Big Heart and it nearly killed him. Last March, for no discernible reason, he suffered heart failure, and in this show he spends an hour talking honestly and poetically (there are actual poems) about the experience. It's funny, to a degree - his more obvious attempts at humour, marked with great pauses or uncharacteristic physicality, are actually a bit wide of the mark - but more importantly it's a great story told by a great storyteller. Richard Tyrone Jones Has A Big Heart feels weighty and important, rare for a Fringe show, and he shook a lot of hands afterwards. There's another review here from Dan Simpson and one here from On The Fringe. You watch his show on Sunday at 6.30pm, Camden Head.

We have absolutely no idea what is going on at Simon Kane's Jonah Non Grata but whatever it is, it's interesting and amusing - perhaps only because of Kane's own likeability. Paranoia, insanity, absurdity, choose-your-own-adventure stories and lots of goodnatured audience participation, plus surely the best entrance in the whole Fringe (he's zipped inside one of those huge shopping bags and rolls onto the stage). Another tweeter @theravenrambles says 'A brilliant show by Simon Kane @CamdenPT for @CamdenFringe - bold, funny, thought provoking'. And there's plenty of time to see the show - Jonah Non Grata is on til 17th August.

What others saw

Snipe discovered its 'first diamond of the Fringe' The Shoemaker's Wonderful Wife by KUDASTS

Sirens and Songs at The Black Heart went down well with @joelidster 'Absolutely adored @SirensAndSongs at @Theblack_heart. Intimate, funny and uplifting.' And his mate agrees: @paully_c 'Just had fab night w @joelidster at #CamdenFringe with @sirensandsongs - WW2 cabaret with singalongs and audience interaction. Loved it!' You can see the show on 10, 11 and 13 August.

What did you see? Tell us in the comments.

What to see

This afternoon and tomorrow afternoon catch free micro-theatre performances at St Pancras International: Two Chairs to the Power of Two Actors times Fifteen Minutes

We're off to see Adrian Poynton, James Mullinger and a show all about telly, Square Eyed plus verbal opera Broke Wide Open and Nazi London play, Peace in our Time. Lots and lots going on. Check out the full programme at Camden Fringe website or follow them on Twitter @camdenfringe.

We'll tweet our own micro-reviews within hours of shows we see from @londonist #camdenfringe

Thanks to our Camden Fringe reviewers: Rachel, Joel and Lindsey

Last Updated 06 August 2011