In the true spirit of the business we call show the Fringe rolled on despite riots spreading to Camden on Monday. Around half of Tuesdays shows went ahead in defiance of the general mood of go home early and have a cup of tea - the fun must go on and we salute you, Fringers!
What we saw
The Beggar's Opera brought a lively, mainly female cast of young perfomers to the Gatehouse for two hours of ballads, folksongs and snatches; what the company lack in acting experience they more than make up for in energy and vocal finesse. A standout performance from Stephanie Wash as corrupt thief-catcher Peachum gives the production a strong centre; David Phillips as highwayman Macheath, and Polly Leech in a dual role as gangster Nimming Ned and saucy Molly Brazen, are also jolly good. (LS)
Out, Damned Spot is a one-woman show (from Emma Hutchins, whose former show Not Stalking David Tennant we also enjoyed), trying to tell the backstory of Lady Macbeth - how did this woman become the power-hungry, manipulative accessory to murder she is in the play? It's a mostly convincing portrayal of a happy, ordinary girl broken by tragedy, and while the mother-in-law stuff is a bit flabby, there's some incredibly powerful moments that made us catch our breath. Sadly it's finished now, but watch out for other things from this lady. (RH)
Adrian Poynton at The Camden Head on Thursday felt a bit like hanging out with an exceptionally funny friend. He was engaging, honest, self-deprecating and a bit distracted. We can all understand why though, Thursday being the first normal-ish day in the city since the riots began on Saturday. Adrian found himself in four riots so felt compelled to ditch his original plan for the show (awkward social encounters and the like) for a different tack. He talked about his "ludicrous" week, branched off into other hilarious personal tales and kept coming back to two simple messages: get to know your neighbours, and try not to be a nob. In his own effort to not be a nob, Adrian donated all the money from the show to riot clean up and community causes. Presumably he's doing his normal show, tonight at 8pm. (BC)
Unbelievably, Square Eyed TV is the debut show by Bookish & Grateful (& Girl). They've only been writing comedy together since February, but their opening hour is a refined joy. Set up as a doomed TV channel, SETV mixes real-time sketches with pre-recorded skits, and effortlessly blends the two, while the chemistry between the three — Russ Hope, Christopher Allen and Lucy Barnett ('Girl,' presumably) — is sparkling. Think TV Burp, but better. Ignore the 4:30PM start and go see it, tomorrow's your last chance. (JG)
What others saw
Snipe London have been all over the Fringe this week. They also saw Out Damned Spot, and though it "intelligent, moving and superbly performed".
Pandora's Boxes at Etcetera "creates an evocative Russian fairy tale that satirises the 21st century without ever becoming twee or forced" performed by a cast unfazed by crappy wigs.
Kent Valentine performed at the Camden Head whilst the riots were kicking off and given the choice, the audience decided they wanted to take his Napalm Odyssey rather than slink off home. It was the right choice.
Lies My Garden Told Me is a "wonderfully sweet clown show in 5D (See! Hear! Sniff! Poke! Taste! But you probably shouldn’t! You weren’t meant to eat that!)" that you can see tonight and tomorrow, at Sheephaven Bay, 8.45pm.
What to see this week
It's so hard to pick because there's so much choice and surprise hits are popping up all over the shop. But we're excited about Strawberry and Cream (tomorrow), The Rivals, Sherlock Strikes Back, Helen and the Space Rocket, Bec Hill, James Mason, Mike Sheer, Country Life, and Taniwha Thames.
Thanks to Lise Smith, Rachel Holdsworth, Joel Golby, Bethany Childs and the reviewers at Snipe.
Find out what's on and book tickets at www.camdenfringe.com