Edinburgh Fringe Festival 2020 has, understandably, been cancelled so that doorstop drop of the new programme I look forward to every year, will not be taking place. But whilst the future lives of those thousands of shows are yet to be decided, did you know you can find shows from previous years streaming online? So far the streamings I have come across are very generously for free, but there is usually the option to donate directly to the company or to venues from cancelled tours. It just goes to show that you don’t have to be big or flashy to share your work with locked down audiences. What better way could there be to get some fringe spirit going as we head into the Summer?
Here are a few of my recommendations:
Since U Been Gone
This was on my priority list for the 2019 Edinburgh Fringe but somehow seeing it just never worked out! Scheduling just goes against you sometimes and there isn’t much you can do about it. Fortunately, I was given another chance as Teddy Lamb has uploaded their final fringe show to YouTube for all to enjoy – it has already racked up over 7k views.
Since U Been Gone (and yes, the 2002 pop classic of the same name does make a very welcome appearance) is a funny and touching autobiographical piece, exploring grief and platonic love whilst deftly navigating gender identity and personal pronouns through mid-noughties pop culture references and an original, live soundtrack. If you’ve ever had a best friend you can’t imagine life without – and especially if you’re not living with them at the moment – Teddy’s tender show may just have you in bits.
Having also appeared at Vault Festival 2020 in February, perhaps there is a chance it will make a reappearance so keep an eye out, I know I will be.
It’s True It’s True It’s True
This powerful restaging of the rape trial of Italian painter-to-the-pope Agostino Tassi, for the rape of his young and gifted pupil, Artemisia Gentileschi, in 17th Century Italy made a huge impression on the Fringe in 2018. It was nigh impossible to get a ticket once word whipped round and tickets for the London run that followed at the New Diorama were almost as hard to get hold of. The show returned to the fringe in 2019, selling out again, toured, and was then recorded for broadcast on BBC4. It is the BBC version that has been released for a limited time only, how lucky are you! Front row seats to a fringe sensation!
You can read my review from the 2018 New Diorama transfer here and watch the full performance, professionally recorded for the BBC here. But hurry! It is only around until the 17th of May: https://www.thenorthwall.com/whats-on/its-true-its-true-its-true/?mc_cid=009af0686e&mc_eid=4c1148412f
Really Want to Hurt Me
I confess, I have not yet watched this Fringe hit from 2018 but it’s next on my theatre screening playlist! Set in Devon in 1984 this queer coming of age story, or “dark comedy with dance sequences”, comes highly recommended – sprinkled with stars from all the right places when it played the Fringe. Developed by Soho Theatre Young Company, it also went on to play Theatre 503 – South West London’s hub of the best new writing. So if you can remember trying to tape the UK Top 40 off the radio without the DJ talking over the songs or dancing to your Walkman like nobody’s watching, you’re sure to enjoy Ben SantaMaria’s work.
‘Bound’ is set in the south Devon fishing port of Brixham, a part of the UK very close to my heart. It tells the story of six Devonshire trawlermen as they embark on one final voyage into the terrifying, awe-inspiring, uncontrollable swell of the sea. When, or if, they reach land again they face bankruptcy. Maybe they’ll try floating a little longer…
It first appeared at the Edinburgh Fringe back in 2010, before transferring to Southwark Playhouse, London and it was there this film version was made. It’s a hearty and heartening tale of friendship and bravery through adversity – something I think we could all use right about now.
Jess Thom’s, aka Tourettes Hero’s, relentlessly positive promotion of neuro-diversity and disability in the arts has been seen on the stage and on TV, but she has also appeared at the Edinburgh fringe in 2014 and 2017. ” ‘I don’t suppress my tics – it’s definitely Beckett with biscuits”, she told the Guardian when promoting her 2017 appearance performing Becket’s monologue, Not I. Her frequent tic “biscuit” provided the title for her first standup show, Backstage in Biscuit Land at the Edinburgh fringe in 2014.
The BBC made a film about her development of the work that first appeared in July 2018, ‘Me My Mouth and I’ and you can currently find it on BBC Iplayer for the next two months. It is well worth a watch not only for the performance but for the discussion Jess prompts on inclusivity in the arts. If we do want to see change when things start to get back to normal, this feels like a conversation that should be at the forefront.