The Bard and The Doctor: British Institutions Re-imagined at the Brighton Fringe

England’s largest fringe festival takes over the city of Brighton during the month of May. The Brighton Fringe brings the great, the good, and the ‘that-could-do-with-a-bit-more-rehearsing’ of the arts to the seaside city. Of the 740 events, my partner and I went to see two: I need a Doctor: The Whosical and Shit-faced Shakespeare.I Need a Doctor

The Whosical runs through the story of two Whovians and their need to dodge cease and desist letters from the litigious Stephen Moffat using a questionable principle of “different, but the same”. K-9 became K-10; Daleks became Exterminators; and the Cybermen are cunningly disguised as the Cyber-Gents (who tap dance!). Different, but the same. With just two of them playing all the characters; sometimes more than one at the same time. It’s a wonderfully warm and endearing tale, peppered with songs, which only adds to a story that is best described as cute. I laughed so hard that I was close to rolling in the aisles. Here’s a taster:

ShitShit-faced Shakespeare: a team of classically trained actors stumble through an abridged version of Much Ado About Nothing, whilst one of them is, well…. shit-faced. Shit-faced, for those of a non-UK background, means bladdered. That’s just as confusing, Gazebo’d? Tanked? Hammered? Legless? Smashed? Three sheets to the wind? Really drunk basically. This thoroughly enjoyable story is made all the better as the other (non-tipsy) actors attempt not to corpse in the face of alcohol-inspired anarchy.

The compere, wearing what can only be described as Dorothy’s Ruby Red Chucks (something I must own!) a morning suit jacket and braces, is in charge of the plastered actor, directing them back to the stage when they wander into the audience in search of a lighter, a cigarette, their boyfriend, a friend, a seat to rest or just a chat. My favourite bit was when she stopped the show to tell another actor they were hamming it up too much and should have another go.

Here’s footage of them on a different night:

Both performances highlight the fantastic variety of great performers in the UK and the unique twists that have been applied to iconic British institutions. If you ever want to go on a journey in a Police Box (different, but the same) or see an actor actually go rogue with Shakespearean material then these are definitely two shows to check out. Both will be appearing at the Edinburgh Fringe, the largest fringe festival in the world.

 

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2 Comments

Filed under Plays, Reviews

2 responses to “The Bard and The Doctor: British Institutions Re-imagined at the Brighton Fringe

  1. Ian Luck

    The perfect antidote to the ‘Shakespeare is not funny’ argument. They should try it with something like ‘King Lear’, or ‘Titus Andronicus’, to see if you could get a laugh out of them. I saw ‘The Reduced Shakespeare Company’ many years ago, and they were great, but this lot have raised the bar impossibly high. Oddly, the interaction with the audience can’t have been very dissimilar to how the plays were originally performed in the 16th century.(although the modern audience are unlikely to hurl dung and rotten fruit & veg. at the performers). Great stuff!

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    • Excellent point! I’d love to see how it played with a tragedy. I think you’re totally right; there’s something of the authentic Shakespearean spirit about making it even more bawdy and getting the audience involved. I reckon the man himself would’ve loved it!

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