Ooops. Changes to the Camden Fringe line-up

We all know life doesn’t always go to plan (don’t worry, this isn’t an insurance advert) and putting on a show can be a precarious balancing act. As such a few changes to the originally advertised line-up for a Fringe Festival are inevitable.

We’ve had a look at some of the changes to the Camden Fringe programme most of which, we are delighted to say, are bonus extra shows that have been added since the original line-up was announced.

But lets start with the cancellations. These are the 4 shows (so far) that have sadly had to cancel their performances:
Maud at the Etcetera
Kat Bond: Emotion in Progress at the Bill Murray
Twenty-Something: The Quarter Life Crisis at the London Improv Theatre
Finding Yourself Offside at the Cockpit

And now on to some of those additional shows…


There will be added bonus laughs with stand up shows from Henrik Elmer and Sarah Lee in A Female & A Swede: One Thing After Another (see if you can guess which the female and which is the swede from their names) at Aces and Eights and Jay Cowle will be trying out new material in Jay Cowle: Work In Progress at Camden Comedy Club

After over 250 performances in London, Dublin, Edinburgh, Melbourne and Adelaide This Is Your Trial finally gets to take the stand in the court of the Camden Fringe. Catch the improvised comedy equivalent of Judge Judy at Aces and Eights.

One show will also be taking to the airwaves during the Camden Fringe. Double act John Dredge and Andy Harland will be performing their show The DredgeLand Radio Spectacular LIVE and broadcasting it on Hove FM 95.3. (What’s a live broadcast I hear you ask? It’s basically the same as a podcast, but you listen to it live through a radio rather than downloading it.)


The most delicious sounding show of the Camden Fringe must be burlesque cabaret show Madame Krumpets, get down to the Star of Kings to see her and her tasty troupe.

As with the rest of the Camden Fringe there is a strong showing of female creatives exploring feminist themes in these extra shows, such as:
Doll Face which explores the female British Asian Experience. (Hen & Chickens)
The Sisters Grimm a feminist fairytale set in Russia taking place at the Lion and Unicorn.
Basic Bitch uses stand-up, storytelling and (watch out) audience participation to explore what it means to be a women today.
The Falconsbridge School for Girls looks at issues of love, friendship, mental health, race and class through the eyes of teenage school girls

And we are delighted that charity Streetz Ahead, who provide free or low-cost performing arts classes to real-life, actual school girls and boys across North London, will be hosting an end of term performance of Streetz Ahead present Wolf as part of the Camden Fringe at the London Irish Centre.


And there’s more… there are even more extra shows taking part in the Camden Fringe. Click here for a full list or peruse the Camden Fringe website which is completely up-to-date.





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LGBTQIA+ themes and performers taking centre stage in over 100 shows at this year’s Camden Fringe

LGBTQIA+ themes and performers are being widely represented in over 100 shows at this year’s Camden Fringe Festival. In what has been a major year for the LGBTQIA+ community, the festival is offering a platform to reflect the wealth of emerging performers and companies tackling issues including the closure of gay clubs in the UK, homophobia and gender fluidity.

“Issues around gender have started to be more widely discussed in the last few years and so naturally this has become a theme fringe shows want to explore,” co-founder of Camden Fringe Michelle Flower says.

“We are pleased that the Camden Fringe can offer a platform to non-binary performers to express their thoughts and feelings in their own style. Just as gender and sexuality are on a spectrum, the genre of shows exploring these themes are brilliantly diverse.”


The Alternative Dairy Selection – TobyLikesMilk (The Cockpit, 24 – 25 August)

Among the line-up this year are companies such as dance company TobyLikesMilk, seasoned performers at the festival, with their new variety show The Alternative Dairy Selection (24-25 Aug, The Cockpit) looking at how the LGBTQIA+ community is benefiting everyone. Member of TobyLikesMilk, Katy Higgins said:

“We want to celebrate the LGTBQ+ art forms of vogue and drag that have been the catalysts for the current discussions surrounding gender and identity. We have invited other companies to share the stage with us as well feel that this way we will have a well rounded show that is inclusive of everyone.

“We are thrilled to be a part of the Fringe for a second year. We debuted as a company last year with our piece ‘Gone Off’ and it was a wonderful experience. We can’t wait to do it all again, especially being back at The Cockpit as they are an amazing team of people.”

Emerging theatremaker Mia Johnson is also performing Pink Lemonade (12 Aug, Camden People’s Theatre), a show fusing spoken word, sound and movement to explore female masculinity and lesbianism, which is also showing with Talawa Theatre.

“Pink Lemonade is about having ownership over yourself and not being controlled by society’s expectations and assumptions that includes by though’s closest to you; I’m exploring my own female masculinity through encounters in my life up to this point, focusing on racial and cultural aspects as well as fetishization and gender identity,” says Mia.

“This is my first solo piece, I’m very excited to be able to share it on a platform like Camden Fringe amongst other new and established artists, I think festivals are the best way for audiences to gain a new perspective on how diverse theatre can be.”


S/he/it happens – Miranda Porter (Etcetera Theatre, 31 July – 3 August)

Other acts include performer Miranda Porter’s new show S/he/it Happens (31-3 Aug, Etcetera Theatre) is a new physical comedy looking at transgender identity, in particular gender dysphoria, drawing upon the performer’s experience of chest dysphoria, binding and gender identity. Elise Heaven’s show She’s a Good Boy (4-5 Aug, Etcetera Theatre) reflecting on non-binary gender using Elise’s real life experiences.

If the festival’s support of this work isn’t proven by the programme, it certainly it by the mascot. Each year CFF’s pigeon mascot takes on a new theme and this year its drag, with the humble bird donning an outfit that RuPaul would certainly be proud of.

For the full list of events and other LGBTQIA+ focused shows, see the Camden Fringe 2018 programme here.

The Camden Fringe Festival runs 30th July – 26th August at various venues throughout Camden.

Book your tickets here.


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The Camden Fringe 2018 is now on sale

The 13th Camden Fringe Festival has announced its 2018 line-up, with comedians including Rhys James, Lloyd Griffith, Kat Bond, Marlon Davis and Tez Ilyas billed for the month-long festival.



The programme – announced today – sees themes of #MeToo, LGBTQ and mental health taking the forefront, reflecting what has been a groundbreaking year of social and political change for the UK. The festival will take place in 23 Camden venues this summer with over 200 shows.

Theatre this year also sees a vast programme of new work, including Loquitor Theatre’s feminist trilogy show Fémage à Trois, long-time participants Fourth Monkey’s Scandal! Season and performer Rachel Salisbury on that Facebook call-out for a boyfriend – which accidentally went viral.

Dance and music also have a significant presence at the festival, with everything from The London Gay Men’s Choir to a dance musical about Sam Neill.


“I can’t believe that the Camden Fringe is now a teenager – although it has been a whirlwind of hormones and slamming doors from the start, so hopefully we won’t see much difference in mood,” says co-founder Michelle Flower.

“The 13th line-up is typical of the Camden Fringe in its huge breadth of styles, themes, and types of performers. We’ve got youth theatre groups and seasoned performers taking part and shows ranging from classic theatre to sci-fi and fantasy, through to a drawing room orchestra. As always, there is a healthy dose of stand-up and improv included, to keep everyone on their toes.”

Despite running at the same time as The Edinburgh Fringe, the festival is increasingly becoming the preferred option, with acts like Rhys James choosing Camden over the highlands this year.

1 week until programme launched

Now in its 13th year, Camden Fringe has fiercely maintained a true fringe ethic of showcasing new work from big names and emerging acts at independent venues.

“One of the things I love about the fringe is the wide variety of venues that get involved. From proper theatres to the surprisingly beautiful back room in a pub, it’s a great way of finding new places to go to all year round,” explains Zena Barrie, co-founder of the festival. “London is getting increasingly full of chains and posh flats, it’s good to explore and support all the lovely independent places that are still slogging on.”

square pigeon white background

And as for the festival’s humble pigeon mascot? In former years the bird has been punk, mime and even Bowie-themed – and this year it’s drag. You’ll be sure to see a lot more of this glamorous bird over the coming weeks.

Tickets are now on sale for the Camden Fringe, running 30th July – 26th August 2018 here.

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Review: The Girl in the Grate at London Irish Centre @CamdenFringe

35524644405_1bb21b8d6c_oThe Girl in the Grate is a one woman storytelling show written and performed by Cathianne Hall at the London Irish Centre as part of the Camden Fringe.

A single story, also titled The Girl in The Grate, makes up the bulk of the performance and sets the kitsch, swinging sixties tone and theme for the evening. This is the tale of Bradford lass Lucy Green who finds herself at something of an impasse in life. Lucy hires a life coach and tries speed dating, but it’s only after getting the heel of her shoe jammed in a drain cover that her life begins to change. Lucy imagines herself as the central character in a 60’s ‘Girl About Town’ sitcom and she reframes her dilemma in that light.

Midway through the story we are shown a pitch-perfect filmed title sequence for Lucy’s sitcom. filmed in Bradford by Neil McLarty, with a theme tune by Hannah Magenta, and starring Cathianne in a variety of excellent retro outfits. Rather than breaking the mood of the live storytelling, this beautiful crafted footage provides a natural break and sets the scene for the rest of the tale, which ultimately Lucy finds you have to get stuck to become unstuck.


Following Lucy’s story there is the chance for the audience to win some genuine sixties, kitsch goodies such like Charlie perfume (just as disgusting as you remember) and huge sunglasses. This section gave the audience a chance to relax and interact and we also got to know Cathianne better, who confirms our suspicions that she been influence from a young age by the kind of sitcom Lucy imagines. Cathianne also shares some hilarious wisdom for single girls from no lesser source than some Babycham coasters.

In contrast to the bright and breezy style of the main section of the show, in the last part we treated to a short new story inspired by the venue we are sat in. Cathianne’s research has uncovered a former resident of the building on Camden Square was once the home of ‘Woman at Home’ magazine editor Annie Swann. Cleverly combining the actual words of Swann, lifted from her ‘Over the Teacups’ advice column a 1880’s set narrative is woven, which ends the evening on a poignant, downbeat note. Cathianne informs us that she only finished writing the tale the previous evening, so this is very much a work in progress, but one which is a privilege to hear in this particular space. Hopefully this story will have the chance to develop and unfold at the London Irish Centre.

This was an evening of spoken word of great charm and subtlety, exploring both actual history and an idealised vision of the more recent past.

The Girl in the Grate was performed at the London Irish Centre on the 11th to 13th of August 2017.

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Review: The Checkout at The Hen and Chickens @CamdenFringe



By Carmel Shortall

As the lights lift, Emma-Jane Hinds’ expressive face peers up at us from over her rectangular ‘Nana Mouskouri’ glasses as she lies upon the stage.

“Oof! Well! I expect you’re wondering why I’m lying on the floor? In Asda?”

She tells us she is Liz Harper, a 55-year-old mum and retired receptionist from Retford but her face lights up when she describes Emma, her 16-year-old daughter who left home only four weeks ago to attend the Central School of Ballet in London.

“She’s a dancer, you know … when she dances she’s like liquid,” she beams.

Now Emma is coming home for a weekend and Liz is the first customer of the day at Asda as she loads up her trolley with the ingredients for roast beef, Yorkshires and sticky toffee pudding. But something happens and she ends up on the floor among the aisles and shelves – the fairy thicket that surrounds this Sleeping Beauty.

Liz’s mind wanders in and out of consciousness as “black smoke” claims her again and again and she relives a scene from her childhood. We learn that she too was a dancer until the age of ten. What went wrong and will she be able to awaken in the here and now? Or, as she tells everyone who tries to help, is she just “getting her ducks in a row”?

The Checkout is a modern day fairy tale devised by Tom Lewis and Emma-Jane Hinds, and performed solely by the latter. As an exploration of empty nest syndrome as well as a re-imagining of the tale of Sleeping Beauty, it is big-hearted and funny. After her daughter leaves, Liz’s life shrinks to housework, gardening and trundling up and down the aisles of her local Asda – of which she has an encyclopaedic knowledge! But now that she can no longer live life vicariously through her daughter, she must wake up and find her own inner dancing princess.

Emma-Jane Hinds gives an irresistible and endearing performance. She draws us in with her chatty enthusiasm and when she dances, she inhabits the stage.

It’s your last chance to see The Checkout today (4.30m) so get down to The Hen and Chickens  and get your clart on with Liz on the final day of The Camden Fringe

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Review: Britain’s Got Fashion at The Cockpit @CamdenFringe


By Carmel Shortall

The ever popular Get Over It Productions return for their eleventh Camden Fringe at The Cockpit in David Bottomley’s new play Britain’s Got Fashion.

A Daytime TV reality fashion show in a shopping mall brings together our six ‘heroines’ to bitch and bicker while allowing us to explore issues around celebrity culture and its obsession with fame. Many of the now familiar tropes of the fashion and reality TV world are on hand: desperate celebrity wannabees, the ‘inadvertently’ flashed boob or “wardrobe malfunction”, models in five-inch heels going arse-over-tit on the catwalk…

Of the six women, some are on the way up; some are on the way down and hanging on for grim death but in the world of fame and useless celebrity, those who create and produce the real work are marginalised.

Fifty-something Gillian has a thirty year track record as a film and TV producer and is bitter to be reduced to working in reality TV. Olufamba has designed the African-influenced clothing range for ‘curvier’ ladies that is the subject of the catwalk show but she is only there because “she ticks all the boxes” according to Gillian.

Candy Peel, plus-size model and erstwhile burlesque star, is the only ‘performer’ who does not seem to be obsessed with her weight – although she has slimmed down since her days as Candy Floss! Gabriela, “the world’s first supermodel”, hosts the show (in a most becoming cold shoulder jumpsuit with extra wide culottes) while just clinging on to her celebrity status.

Sixteen-year-old, working class Leanne, with her budding eating disorder, at first seems like one of Gabriella’s “young girls hungry for fame and fortune, desperate to be the next big thing” but ultimately she would just like to run a florist shop named after her Nan. Last but definitely not least – posh, self-obsessed Monaco, very much the empty-headed wallet-shagger, is on the way up and not about to let anything stand in her way.

The contentious issue of how much money each of the women are being paid for their contribution exercises them throughout the first half – Leanne from Tower Hamlets is only being paid £350 for the day while Monaco, who grew up on an entirely different type of ‘estate’, cashes in at £35,000. But after an explosion hits the shopping centre, the stakes are raised even higher – Gillian, stumbling around in the dark, finds that the cameras are still rolling and the stage is set for some opportunistic career-building.

Fabulous fun!

The ensemble cast are excellent and really relish their roles – one would expect nothing less from Get Over It Productions. Co-founder, Velenzia Spearpoint makes a great job of her first outing as Director while Paula Benson (also playing tough, realistic Gillian) and writer, David Bottomley, ably assist. Sassy Clyde is larger than life as Monaco; Meryl Griffiths is waspish as Gabriella; Melanie Gayle gives a great comic turn as the side-lined Olufamba, determined to have her work recognised no matter what, while Eleanor Hurrell invests Leanne with a spiky vulnerability and Beth Johnston is down-to-earth and sympathetic as Candy Peel.

Britain’s Got Fashion is only playing for one more night (Friday 25th August, 9pm) so book a ticket and get on down to The Cockpit, Gateford Street, Marylebone NW8 8EH and have yourselves a bloody good time!

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Review: Sophie at the Lion and Unicorn @CamdenFringe


Sophie is a one woman show exploring the incomprehensible bonds between twins – in association with MIND in the City, Hackney and Waltham Forest.

Written and performed by Julia Pagett, who presents a stark but mesmerising monologue, almost hypnotic, a story that draws on the dangers of distortion, reality and deception.

“It’s funny how what people see from the outside can be completely different from what’s going on inside…”

Opening with music and a box full of memories, Sophie remembers her twin sister and the trauma she went through.

It’s very timely in an era when more an more young people are suffering from anxiety, depression and mental health issues, while worrying about people’s public personas on social media.

Julia has been involved in several short films, music videos and fringe productions. I’m sure we’ll be seeing much more of her soon.

My only complaint is that it wasn’t longer. I was just becoming engrossed when it ended, just short of 20 minutes. This play shows great promise and it is a sign of a good show when you don’t want to leave. Please develop it Julia, carry on and tell us more. There is so much scope in this material to take this to the full hour.

This performance was directed by Keir Mills.

Sophie is at the Lion and Unicorn Friday, Saturday and Sunday at 5pm. For more details For tickets or pay on the door.



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