The Camden Fringe: It's as good as the Edinburgh Festival, though arguably even better than that lauded Scotch month of mayhem: you only share accommodation if you want to and no one will sneer if you didn't make it to the 2am performance of A Midsummer Night's Dream in an 'ironic' car impound lot.
Last year, the small Etcetera Theatre and Liberties Bar hosted 175 performances of 47 different shows... in just 4 weeks. 2008 is the festival's third year and auspiciously, there is a third venue in the shape of Camden People's Theatre. With so much to see, such spirit and giddy, glorious, fringetastic new work packed into the programme, it's time to load up your Oyster card, prime that highlighter pen and get booking for all the shows coming up.
We're particularly impressed by the number of Greek tragedies reworked for the Camden Fringe 2008, among them Elektra! which puts the bloody, violent Euripedes tale in modern-day Zimbabwe and Cradle and Fall which is based on the devastating Medea. Mixed in among the reworkings are brand new pieces - we're particularly intrigued by the Turner Plays, short plays inspired by the landscape artist, and some enticing physical theatre from France called Angels of the Underground that is getting us very excited.
And then there's the comedy... there's the one about Alzheimers, the one about Touching Cloth, the one in a Banjo Lounge and a fair amount of improvisational stuff too. That's a genre that is improved by the performers not knowing lines.
We'll see you on the number 24 bus shuttling between Camden People's Theatre, Liberties and Etcetera; we'll recognise you as fellow Camden Fringe fans seizing this opportunity to see lots of exciting new work. Don't sleep until September!
The Camden Fringe, Monday 28 July to Sunday 24 August. For the full programme and to book tickets, go to the Camden Fringe website.
Image by Buckaroo Kid from the Londonist Flickr pool