Along with this years Brighton Festival comes the Brighton Fringe 2023. Supposedly older and bigger than the Edinburgh Fringe but not quite on the same scale, the Brighton Fringe is a great place to see up and coming stars and shows. Sadly this year there is no printed brochure and no app to go with it. This means you have to do all your browsing on their website, but at least it is quite well optimized for phones. It runs from the 5th May to the 4th June.
The fringe is for the little shows that run in pubs and halls and pop up venues all over town. It encompasses comedy, music, theatre, tours, cabaret and spoken word. Shows generally run for an hour so you can see several in an evening if you want. There are 600 events taking place in more than 100 venues so plenty to choose from. Central to the festival over the last few years was the Warren. This was a mixture of shipping containers, tents, stages and bars that acted as a hub on the Old Steine. They seem to have gone bust and this year we have the Caravanserai , a smaller scale version up by St Peters church. And of course there is the Spiegeltent, a big top with a lot going on.
What do you see? Well, there is the question. Half the acts you will never see again but the odd few do go onto great things. If you recognise a name from last year then they probably have enough talent to have put two shows together.
The following suggestions are acts that I have seen before or are regulars at the Fringe. Police Cops In Space, Shaggers, Hannah Brackenbury, Eleanor Conway, Bom-Bane’s, Camille O’Sullivan and Clandestino.
Two fringe successes that spring to mind are Tape Face and Lorraine Bowen. They were both regulars in the fringe brochure. The Boy With Tape On His Face to give him his original name as a mime/physical comedian who never spoke as he had a piece of gaffer tape over his mouth. I saw him headlining the Pleasance in Edinburgh a few years later and was very impressed. He later got to the final of Americas Got Talent and is currently doing a show in Las Vegas.
Lorraine Bowen is a Brighton local who goes for space age 60s retro chic. Dressed in a silver foil dress she sings novelty songs while playing cheap electric organs. Her big break was in 2015 when she made it through to the semi finals of Britains Got Talent. Her big tune is a song about cooking (apple) crumbles.