Friday, 25 July 2014

Last weekend of 35th Buxton Festival Fringe

Well it’s the ‘last chance saloon’ for all Festival Fringe events as the final weekend of the 35th Fringe approaches. Blessed with brilliant weather – apart from the poor old Morris men – there will be much to remember. But first what still can you see and hear?

On Saturday only you could a musical feast: the fabulous K’antu Ensemble bring early music up-to-date with a concert of Shakespeare’s Music at the United Reformed Church at 12.30. At 2pm in St Mary’s Church the Bel Canto Singers will be presenting a programme of songs in joyful summer celebration including a tribute to First World War heroes.

At the Methodist Church at 3pm John Kilpatrick brings the Sheffield Lydian Ensemble for what he says will be his final concert. High standards of musicianship and fun in equal measure is guaranteed in a choral collage that includes John’s Jumblies Suite (‘they went to sea in a sieve they did’).

You could complete a tour of Buxton churches by going to St John’s at 7.30pm to hear the City of Manchester Opera singing some of your favourite arias and choruses. Fringe regulars COMO never let their appreciative audiences down.

If it is folkier, more contemporary, music that you are looking for there is a straight choice at Underground Venues. At 3.45pm The Raintown Seers draw on songs from both sides of the Atlantic in a mix of traditional and original compositions. At 4pm Darren Poyzer delivers the final performance of ‘The War To End All Wars’ – his moving reflections on the First World War.

The excellent Mart Rodger Manchester Jazz will be delivering their own brand of Dixieland and trad jazz at the Methodist Church at 7.30pm

There is a raft of comedy in town. Radio and TV presenter Terry Christian is presenting his ‘Naked Confessions of A Recovering Alcoholic’ which has been touring to great reviews. He is at the 300-seat Arts Centre Auditorium at 8pm. At 9.45 in the Arts Centre Studio is Lolie Ware with ‘Too Cool To Care’ in which she finds humour in her account of life caring for two elderly parents. She totally won-over audiences when she was in Buxton earlier this Fringe.

At Underground Venues you have a choice of late night comedy. Alfie Moore draws on his experience as a police officer for his show ‘The Naked Stun’ which has at its heart the business of trying to catch a flasher. There is plenty of humour but also plenty of exasperation in Alfie’s stories. Simon Feilder starts last at 10.30pm with ‘All the things I’m not’ in which he examines his life so far with the aid of flip charts, histograms and some songs. Simon is worried that much in life he finds difficult – such as relationships – but can he work out ways of coping?



There is plenty available on both Saturday and Sunday. If you haven’t yet seen the free art exhibitions at the Art Café in the Pavilion Gardens, the town Museum & Art Gallery or The Green Man Gallery then Sunday may be a good opportunity to make good that omission. The galleries are open all day.

Buxton has seen a number of premieres this Fringe. Possibly none has been better than ‘Shrew’ a new play written by, and starring, Ami Jones. The play revisits Shakespeare’s ‘The Taming of the Shrew’ from the point of view of Kate. She is still angry, hurt, resentful – but she also questions herself and her complicity which led to a life that was not what she wanted or hoped for. This is a totally gripping performance and Ami Jones is a name to watch out for. The last performances are on Saturday at 6.15pm and Sunday at 1pm.

The amiable Doug Devaney is back this weekend with ‘The Angina Monologue’ in which he considers how fags, booze and a fat-filled diet led him to surgery, death’s door and life-style choices. Doug clearly has a message but the story is told in an engaging way and not without humour. Doug finishes at Underground Venues on Sunday at 2.30pm.

Dreamshed Theatre is in town with two very different shows. ‘The Theo The Mouse Show’ is unambiguously a show aimed at children – and their mums, dads or grandparents – and the enthusiastic Fringe reviewer wrote: Although the show had echoes of Basil Brush in its format, it reminded me more of the best kind of panto with singing, dancing, magic and even some ‘Oh no there wasn’t! Oh yes there was!’ moments. There was just the right amount of interactivity, no longueurs, spot on comedy for adults and children alike and not a hint of condescension to younger members of the audience. See Theo at the United Reformed Church at 2pm Saturday and Sunday.

At 7.30pm Dreamshed are back with a very different show – ‘His Letters’. This is a moving one-man play about a man who makes an unusual discovery when clearing out his late mother’s possessions. The reviewer urging you to see the show said: His Letters is an excellent example of story telling that explores family relationships and how we interact with people once they are gone. It strengths were in “how” the story was told rather than “what” story was being told. How the story was told is down to a combination of both the actor and the writing.

The last two events at this year’s Fringe are ‘Swan Canaries’ – also at the United Reformed Church – which tells the story of factory workers in Nottingham who made munitions during the First World War. With a song or two this tells an important story in an accessible way.


Seeing the Fringe out in grand style are the Word Wizards who have put on 16 performance poetry events at the Buckingham Hotel. The last one – starting at 8.15 – includes Derbyshire’s first poet laureate Cathy Grindrod.


Buxton Fringe

Website: www.buxtonfringe.org.uk
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Twitter: @buxtonfringe