Garry Starr Performs Everything

5 stars

The Performing Arts are doomed. They are dying. Only Garry Starr can save them from their inevitable extinction, or so he tells us. By performing every single genre of theatre within an hour, he will inspire us to get out and see more, thus single-handedly saving live performance itself. And do you know? He might just have pulled it off.

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

Guy: A New Musical

4 stars

Guy is a brand new musical from Leoe & Hyde, the creators of last year’s smash Buxton Fringe hit The Marriage of Kim K. Guy is a fat gay man, more into Minecraft than sport, yet desperate to meet “the one”. Facing the cruelly judgmental world of online dating, he embraces gym culture in his attempt to find acceptance.

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

Old Bones

4 stars

Making a bet with the devil rarely turns out well. But James Napier, the protagonist of this gently haunting one-man show, has reason to believe he can buck the odds: for he carries a secret, a secret he dared believe would give him the upper hand on Old Nick himself. Needless to say, he should have been more careful what he wished for. Today, he's here to tell us how he won his gamble, and then how it all went wrong.

Review by Richard Stamp published on Tuesday 10 July | Read more

A Curse Of Saints

4 stars

The Off-Off-Off-Broadway Company are perennial and very popular visitors to Buxton – though this year their playwright Polis Loizou is the only one in attendance, with a new one-man show set in late-nineteenth-century Cyprus. In the aftermath of a mysterious death, gossip and superstition create a febrile atmosphere which foreshadows further tragedy.

Review by Stephen Walker published on Tuesday 10 July | Read more

Love Letters From Blackpool

3 stars

What does it mean to be in love? How does love evolve as we all grow older? How did love affairs in the past differ from those of today? Armed with flash-cards, recorded interviews, and her trusty guitar, the multi-talented Ruth Cockburn attempts to answer some of these questions – with a series of stories and factual vignettes set in her birth town of Blackpool.

Review by Richard Stamp published on Tuesday 10 July | Read more

On Behalf Of The People

5 stars

On Behalf Of The People isn't a typical piece of Fringe theatre. For one thing, it's two hours long – but don't be put off by that, because it's engrossing and engaging the whole way through. It's performed in the round, in a bare-bones venue, a decision which brings the audience into the heart of the production and silently embodies the sense of community underpinning the plot. And most unusually of all, it's political theatre which doesn't lecture, but explains – which tells a story that genuinely stands a chance of changing hearts and minds.

Review by Richard Stamp published on Monday 9 July | Read more

Dreamscape

3 stars

In 2014, musician Greg Felton fell into a coma. Isolated from the world around him, his consciousness went on a free-wheeling journey; a cat-and-mouse entanglement with shadowy enemies, all played out entirely within his mind. Now happily recovered, Greg remembers every detail of this imagined story, and this play – adapted by Miriam Higgins from Greg's own writings – sets out to show us just what it's like inside a comatose mind.

Review by Richard Stamp published on Monday 9 July | Read more

The Haunting of Blaine Manor

4 stars

There's a skull sitting on the bookcase. Nobody ever mentions it, it has no role in the plot, but you can never quite forget that it's there. And that, to me, exemplifies the quiet menace of this well-thought-out horror story, which takes the most time-worn of elements – a haunted house, a dinner party, a séance gone wrong – and still manages to combine them into something intriguing and new.

Review by Richard Stamp published on Sunday 8 July | Read more

Green Knight

5 stars

It's true what they say about less being more. This superlative piece of storytelling theatre could barely be any simpler: it's just one woman, a few unremarkable chairs, and a smattering of props which she carries on in a bundle. But that's all performer Debbie Cannon needs to spirit us away, to a colourful world of knights and giants – where her character, a woman who's known both poverty and nobility, finds herself at the centre of an age-old story.

Review by Richard Stamp published on Saturday 7 July | Read more

Telling Lives

4 stars

Not all that far from Buxton, on what's now the outskirts of Manchester, stands Prestwich Hospital – built in the Victorian age, and once Europe's largest asylum. In the fittingly-period setting of the refurbished Pump Rooms, Buxton Drama League recreates this most misunderstood of institutions, introducing us to both its patients and the staff charged with treating them.

Review by Richard Stamp published on Friday 6 July | Read more

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