Opinion - Pre Fringe

Brighton Fringe

VentSpleen looks forward to a very busy weekend of reviewing with Sweet Venues at the Brighton Fringe...

Fringe, isn't that the annoying bit of hair that gets in your eyes when you need a haircut? Pre Fringe sounds like a sort of Eighties music outfit, kind of a reaction against the New Romantics. But I am definitely Pre Fringe as I prepare to head to Brighton Fringe Festival and, actually, it's quite embarrassing to admit considering I am so passionate about edgy and relevant Theatre but this will be my first proper visit to Brighton Fringe.   Brighton has always been a place of fascination for me, I love the vibrancy and artsy feel to the place. There are so many little nichy shops and cafes to find, all having their own heart beat and slightly different feel. Brighton Fringe itself has an exciting and varied programme for 2016 with the old cliché of "something for everyone" very much true. I am reviewing eight productions being staged at Sweet Venues' four placements and, even within this small cut of Fringe, it showcases the broad range. I am also looking forward to sitting down and talking to Sweet Venues co-owner, JD Henshaw, over the weekend. My expectations are high and, judging by the excited buzz being created so far, they will probably be surpassed.

I think Theatre is in the process of regenerating, something it has always had to do to survive, and my opinion is that Fringe is also in a time of flux. With the near death of Repertory Theatre there was a real fear that low- or no-budget productions would struggle to find a home outside of the various Fringe Festivals that happen throughout the year. Fortunately, these fears have been unfounded and Pub Theatre is very much taking over the traditional place occupied by Rep. This is essential if we are to see new and talented creative forces reigniting the fading lights of the those that have gone before. Whilst I hold in high esteem actors and actresses who have made their careers and reached dizzying theatrical heights, this industry needs new blood if it is to continue to provide audiences with new shows. There must be smaller venues that allow individuals and companies to break new ground and forge ever forward with innovative ideas. Brighton Fringe remains as an integral part of this change and, with many shows moving around the country, it will be interesting to see what part Fringe Festival plays in this brave new Thespian world. Of course, it will never lose its edge because it is the home of newness and of challenging preconceptions. I suspect that what I may find is that Fringe never ever stops evolving, of renewing itself and, if it did, it would cease to fill the essential space that it must occupy. In order to stay cutting edge it is essential to never lose momentum or else risk slipping backwards.

If you've got a show at Brighton let me know, I'm on Twitter @ventspleen2016. You can have a look at Sweet Venues Fringe programme here

Image - Brighton Fringe
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