By Carmel Shortall
On Thursday 29th July, a strange procession of people could be found wandering up and down Eade Road in N4, searching for the Beyond Centre where a preview of seven Camden Fringe Shows was to take place that evening.
As our little band grew, we pooled our resources and eventually found a secret entrance at the back of the Beyond Centre. We were late but as we were holding one of the performers hostage (his show fittingly titled Roman Around), they couldn’t start without us and how glad we were that they didn’t.
Solas Theatre Company were first to give us a ten minute snippet of their show, 2AM and they lived up to their promise to lead us on a “journey into the unknown – the world of fantasy”. We saw a grumpy goblin being charmed out of his tree by two cheerful sprites, and they will do the same for you if you pop along to the Etcetera Theatre (above the Oxford Arms) on Thu 19th – Sun 22nd August at 7.30pm.
Second-up was Ryan Millar whose one man show, Roman Around: A Guided Tour of the Eternal City, draws on his time as a tour guide in Rome and his knowledge of the city’s history to create an unusual and very funny theatrical experience. In our ten minute preview, we learned why the city is called Rome and not Reme in a ‘re-imagining’ of the tale of Romulus, Remus and the ever generous she-wolf. Ryan will be ‘polishing’ his show at the Edinburgh Fringe before bringing it back to Camden later in August where you can catch it at the Camden Head on Sat 21st and Sun 22nd at 5.45pm.
Our next preview was The Fantastic Reality of Frederick Goodge, written and performed by comedian, Gerry Howell. Howell inhabits the role of shambling and easily confused fantasist, Frederick Goodge: it is hard to know where one ends and the other begins. During the short preview, among the many surreal and witty asides, Howell/Goodge apologised for his trousers being in character – but not his shirt – and he promised that the show would be like “the best episode of neighbours you’ve ever seen”. Surreal and funny, this show promises to be a highlight of the Fringe. Judge for yourselves at the Etcetera Theatre, Thu 5th–Wed 11th August at 9pm.
Becky and Naomi: Sketchy at Best previewed a couple of sketches for their Edinburgh show later this month but they won’t be appearing at the Camden Fringe this year and so we wish them well in the other place.
How to Put on a One Man Show is Simon Jay’s one man show on…well you get the idea. Not only a show and a show about a show, it is also a work in progress. During the performance, Jay took cues from the audience, improvising, interacting and moving constantly around the stage. Human prop, Minty, added a nice touch to the preview and it is to be hoped that she survives in the final version. Funny and anarchic, this show poses many questions. Who will catch the flowers? Will Simon take his head out of the bag? And will he put his trousers back on? Find out at the Sheephaven Bay from Thu 26th – Sun 29th August, 9pm.
Kim Fraser performed a segment of her touching play Not Applicable (co-written and directed by Tom Evans) in the penultimate preview of the evening. Agoraphobic, Ally, is preparing to leave her house for the first time in five years to meet her idol Debbie Harry. While she tries to prepare herself she thinks of all the things that could go wrong and then she dares to dream that everything could just possibly go right… Moving without being sentimental, this taster promised much and the play can be seen in full at the Etcetera Theatre from the 2nd – 5th August at 4.30pm.
Two belting songs from lights, camera… RESTING were a perfect way to round off the evening. This musical comedy written by Yvonne Delahaye, Bryony Growdon and Vicky Poole of Divine Divas Productions, with music by Matheson Bayley, tells the story of three actresses who muse upon their lot while ‘resting’. Jax yearns for a big Shakespearian role, Suzie prefers Bond to the Bard and Rachel leads with her boobs but has never learned to speak from her diaphragm. Catch the whole thing at the Camden Head on Mon 23rd and Tue 24th August at 5.45pm.
These are just six of about 200 shows playing over the next four weeks at The Camden Fringe. Check the website www.camdenfringe.org and get booking!
Remember you can now keep up to date with an app for The Camden Fringe. http://bit.ly/ceqAeK