Why do some reviews have a different-coloured star rating? This year, we're re-publishing selected reviews from earlier runs of the same show – for example, if we reviewed the same production at last year's Edinburgh Fringe. Find out more.

The Marriage Of Kim K

5 stars

Sometimes a show comes along that is so ambitious, despite the constraints of Fringe theatre, that it takes your breath away. And when it achieves all that it attempts to do, you know you're witnessing a bona fide hit. Leoe and Hyde’s show succeeds on every level – musically, dramatically, and by being very funny. It absolutely rates as a must-see.

Review by Stephen Walker published on Saturday 15 July | Read more

The Ladder

3 stars

Helen Rutter won the Buxton Fringe Award for Best Female Actor last year, for her performance in the one-woman play Human. This year she’s back in another self-penned show, where she spends almost the entire performance stuck up the eponymous ladder. As she awaits rescue, she recounts her experiences and re-evaluates her life.

Review by Stephen Walker published on Saturday 15 July | Read more

Alice in Wonderland Underground

4 stars

Butterfly Theatre's shows in Poole’s Cavern have become something of an institution at Buxton Fringe. They're usually Shakespeare, but not always – and this year, with Alice in Wonderland, Butterfly have chosen a work for which an other-worldly atmosphere is essential. There could be no better match for the stalactites and stalagmites of a show cave.

Review by Stephen Walker published on Saturday 15 July | Read more

The Forgotten Tales

3 stars

It’s worth saying that Buxton has some great Fringe venues. Scrivener’s Bookshop is one of them – and a Victorian corner building filled with five floors of books is a perfect location for a storytelling show. The Forgotten Tales is a compendium of stories told by Jon Buckeridge of Parable Arts, a company specialising in bringing us tales from around our islands that we’re maybe not so familiar with.

Review by Stephen Walker published on Friday 14 July | Read more

Indiscretion

4 stars

After success last year with her one-woman show, Mrs Oscar Wilde, Lexi Wolfe is back with a two-hander set in 1942 – showing domestic life struggling to carry on during the Second World War. While she waits for her hot date to arrive, Maggie is interrupted by her childhood friend Roger, who wants to confront her about her less-than-respectable behaviour.

Review by Stephen Walker published on Tuesday 11 July | Read more

Dark Satanic

3 stars

In 1823, on a farm in the countryside outside the rapidly industrialising Manchester, Helen is working the land alone as her husband tries to earn some money in the factories of the big city. Dark Satanic sits at a turning point in the relationships between town and country, rich and poor, and men and women; and it has something interesting to say about all of them.

Review by Stephen Walker published on Tuesday 11 July | Read more

A Teacher's Guide To Surviving Zombie Armageddon

3 stars

A zombie invasion is always a misfortune – but when it happens alongside an Ofsted inspection, it's nothing short of a disaster. In A Teacher’s Guide to Surviving Zombie Armageddon, a year-three teacher phlegmatically soldiers on through the apocalypse, all the time trying to follow best educational practice while her pupils turn into the undead.

Review by Stephen Walker published on Saturday 8 July | Read more

The Pretty One (And Other Things That Need To Be Said)

4 stars

This is Cameryn Moore's third show at the Buxton Fringe, following Phone Whore and slut (r)evolution, and she's also a familiar figure around the town at festival time typing up her on-demand "sidewalk smut". I've never actually see her perform before, but I thought I had an idea what to expect – yet I wrong-footed by a performance characterised by vulnerability, honesty, and a longing for connection.

Review by Stephen Walker published on Friday 7 July | Read more

Play Time

4 stars (previous review)

Who pushed Charlie off the climbing frame?  A cloak-and-dagger mystery is gripping the local primary school, and erstwhile teacher's pet Elton is firmly in the frame.  He waits now outside the headteacher's office, his dreams of future eminence twisting slowly in the wind.  But he's not alone: another child is with him, a troublemaker whom the goody-two-shoes Elton would normally shun.  Will this odd couple unite in the face of a common enemy?  And more importantly... will Elton ever learn to play?

Review by Richard Stamp originally published at the Vault Festival in 2017 | Read more

And The Rope Still Tugging Her Feet

5 stars (previous review)

A teenage girl graduates from a Catholic school, in rural County Kerry.  We learn of her endearing innocence: her delight at the discovery that men and women can share a joke together, and how much she enjoys the simple pleasures of her newly independent life.  There’s the giggly advent of first love, and the flattering attentions of an older man.  There’s an office party and a ride in the boss’s car.  We know this won’t end well.

Review by Richard Stamp originally published at the Brighton Fringe in 2016 | Read more

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