(n.b. every year i go to the Edinburgh Fringe theatre/arts festival, which lasts for most of the month of august. this year i was reviewing for broadway baby.)
i was so busy during Festival season this year that i didn’t go to nearly as many shows as I would have liked. and because i was reviewing, i obviously didn’t get much of a chance to see things recreationally, based on recommendations or reviews from other people. i think next year’ i’ll probably just go for a couple of days, for fun rather than for work.
the BEST two fringe shows i saw in terms of all-round quality were Riders, a Czech dance/physical theatre performance inspired by birds, and A Series of Increasingly Impossible Acts by the Lyric Secret Theatre company, which was incredible and I’d highly recommend to anyone who has a chance to see it. very exciting to watch, and experimental without being pretentious or difficult to understand.
other good shows included The God That Comes (a one-man cabaret musical retelling of the Bacchae myth), and Eden Gate (an immersive theatre experience about an apocalyptic plague). I also very much enjoyed Too Much Light Makes The Baby Go Blind, which I would definitely see again if i happened to be in the right place at the right time. (this particular performance included a man suckling on the nipple of Cecil Baldwin from Welcome to Night Vale, which was unexpected.)
The last show of my Festival season was also one of the most memorable: a staging of Delusion of the Fury by the composer Harry Partch. I was expecting this to be a predominantly musical performance (Partch is known for composing on a 43-note scale, using instruments of his own devising), but instead it was very visual, including fire, a waterfall, huge inflatable balloon-mountains, interesting costumes, and aspects of physical theatre. i feel very lucky to have seen it because Partch’s music is hardly ever performed, and this company literally had to hire someone to build an entire set of his instruments from scratch.
(i didn’t see anything truly heinous this year, although i did go to one performance art show that involved sitting in a small portacabin and watching a man give himself a coffee enema, and my first review of the fringe was a one-woman play about the performer’s dead mother, and i was the ONLY person in the audience.)