Whilst August is well known across the UK as the month of the Edinburgh Fringe, but whilst Scotland is partying every night for a month, the Camden Fringe is also on. I was out of the country for a good third of the month so I’ve been playing catchup ever since. To the point where until I didn’t see a Camden Fringe show until the 18th. Two days ago. The German Girls reveals a side to the Nazi occupation of Europe that I’d never considered before – the lives of those in Copenhagen.
I’ve seen a lot of shows produced by Katy Lipson for Aria Entertainment over the past year that I’ve loved – Pippin, Yank, Spring Awakening and The Toxic Avenger were all brilliant – so when I heard she was bringing a song cycle to the Union Theatre, I was definitely interested. It’s Only Life brings together five performers following a story of longing, wisdom, fulfillment, loss and triumph, tying these feelings with songs by John Bucchino.
I’ve had my eye on seeing The Rink at Southwark Playhouse since it was announced, and with the great Caroline O’Connor taking a starring role it would be rude not to. In its first revival in 30 years, this Kander & Ebb classic has taken the Off-West End scene by storm this month.
Stephen Sondheim and James Lapine’s smash-hit Into The Woods opened on Broadway in 1987, winning three Tony Awards, before being reimagined in hundreds of different ways. It was even developed into a feature-film by Walt Disney Pictures in 2014 and until Friday night’s opening of Into The Woods at The Cockpit, the film is my only real experience of the production. Teaming up with Trilby Productions, All Star Productions has delivered the London fringe theatre scene with a 21st century imagination of the Sondheim classic.
Immersive theatre doesn’t sit well with me a lot of the time. Whilst I always want to be as involved in the show as I can be, I want the fourth wall to stay very firmly up in a sense that I don’t want to be part of the production. Apart from when I got to sing ‘Ride Sally Ride’ into the microphone that Killian Donnelly thrust in my face during Mustang Sally at the end of The Commitments. I was very much okay when it came to being that close to the newly announced touring Jean Valjean in Les Mis. It put me off seeing Trainspotting as I’d heard bizarre things about it, but there was something about Julius Caesar at the Bridge Theatre that intrigued me. Immersive Shakespeare seemed like something I had to learn a little more about.
I don’t think I’ve ever had such a terrible train journey to London as I did when I went to watch H.R.Haitch at the Union Theatre, but my goodness it was the breath of fresh air that I needed. And it’s also what London needs in such a turbulent political landscape.