I’ve spent near a month now trying to figure out what I have to say about the Fringe Festival and even as I’m writing this I’m still not entirely sure.
I only was there for the last week of the festival and managed to cram in quite a few shows. Some including friends and poets I already knew like Dan Simpson’s show Nerdsmith and Sara Hirsch’s show How Was It For You?. I also was able to see others I knew nothing about like Gecko Theatre’s Institute. For the whole, the Fringe Festival became more like a week long learning exercise.
For those who may be unaware, the Anti-Slam is a slam with a twist, it’s one where the worst poet wins. They gather the best poets to write the worst stuff they can. This often includes them coming up with new on stage persona’s. I was lucky enough to be asked to take part in it during it’s one of night at the fringe and I took on the persona of 4 Chainz Da Ruler, a Grace Jones and Kanye West love child. It was truly terrible in the best kind of way. Also competing were the likes of Harry Baker, Keith Jarrett, Agnes Torok, Jenni Pascoe, Catherine Brogan and a few more awesome poets and it was incredible. My highlight being the eventual winners, Keith Jarrett and James McKay’s piece, including Keith being wrapped up in clingfilm.
Away from the Anti-Slam, I absolutely adored Antonym Theare’s Staricase. It was a series of small short scenes using the 5 cast members they had in various roles and it was brilliant. A great mix of laughs and feelings. The highs and the low’s all done so well and was just brilliantly put together and acted.
Lastly, Jibba Jabba. It was the fringe’s daily open mic night and whilst it was a stripped back version of what it normally is in its Newcastle home, what they brought to the fringe was special. The way it handles its open mic is just so skillful. With there being no sign up required, it’s literally a free-for-all and it works so well. This was highlighted so well on the last night of the Fringe where a lot of the poets who had their own show came down to the open mic and all just joined in on the free-for-all. There’s something special and surreal seeing the likes of Dan Simpson and Rob Auton open mic-ing with the rest of us. Especially when we were allowed to over-run by 2 hours so it was a full feast of poetry.
Overall, the fringe was great and if you do ever get the chance to go I urge you to head down.