Theatre Visits – Fringe



There is a wealth of fringe and local theatre to explore in London. We define fringe broadly, virtually anything but the big West End names. So we may go to the Young Vic as well as the Gatehouse. The Off West End website lists about a hundred venues, so there is a lot to see in pubs and halls as well as theatres proper. There is a wide range of genres to delve into from the classics to musicals, drama to pantomime, dance to comedy.
 
We will aim for lower prices (£12-£30-ish), and the idea is that members buy their own tickets beforehand (otherwise it gets complicated) from a programme we will send out well in advance. We will meet in the theatre bar or a nearby cafe or pub, and maybe stay to chat afterwards.

☐ When: This will depend on what we decide to see, with a leaning towards Mondays and Tuesdays, usually in the evenings with some matinées.

Members who are interested in West End theatre productions should join the Theatre Visits – West End Group.

Conveners:
Gill Shiel and Jane Saunders
 

To join the group please complete the contact form below. This form may also be used to contact the Convener on all matters relating to the Group.

Our schedule is as follows:

19 February 2019

▶︎ The Thrill of Love at the Tower Theatre
 
“Based on a true story, The Thrill of Love is a stylishly atmospheric “film noir” style drama. Located amid the seedy glamour of 1950’s West End “gentlemen’s” clubs, it’s a masterful blend of humour and tragedy, set against a soundtrack of Billie Holiday’s bruised and yearning voice. Nightclub hostess Ruth Ellis works hard and plays hard in search of fame and fortune, but ultimately pays a high price to achieve it. In 1955, the self-styled “blonde bombshell” is found guilty of the murder of her violent upper class lover and Ruth finally becomes famous – as the last woman to be hanged in England. In a desperate race against time to save Ruth from the hangman’s noose, Ruth’s crime and the events leading up to it are re-examined through the eyes of the investigating detective, Inspector Gale, and the three loyal friends who knew her best – cynical nightclub manageress, Sylvie Shaw; aspiring “actress” Vickie Martin; and naïve charwoman, Doris Judd.” – Tower Theatre website.

26 March 2019

▶︎ Mary’s Babies at Jermyn Street Theatre
 
“Mary Barton, a pioneer of fertility treatment, thought her husband was perfect. And doesn’t every child deserve the perfect father? So Mary used her husband’s sperm to impregnate up to a thousand women, and then burnt all the records. A thousand resulting children, the ‘Barton Brood’, with no idea about their shared father. Meeting each other. Making friends. Having babies. Maud Dromgoole’s play is based on the true story of Mary Barton and the Barton Brood, researched through surveys and interviews. Provocative, funny, and fascinating, it imagines a series of encounters between these unknowing half-siblings.” – Jermyn Street Theatre website.

16 April 2019


 
▶︎ Little Miss Sunshine at the Arcola Theatre
 
“The Hoover family has more than a few troubles, but young Olive has her heart set on winning the Little Miss Sunshine beauty contest. When an invitation to compete comes out of the blue, the Hoovers must pile in to their rickety yellow camper van. Can it survive the 800-mile trip from New Mexico to California – and more importantly, can they?” – Arcola Theatre website.

14 May 2019

▶︎ White Pearl at the Royal Court
 
“In Singapore, Clearday™ has developed from a small start-up company to a leading international cosmetic brand in less than a year. But when a draft of the company’s latest skin cream advert is leaked, the video goes viral globally for all the wrong reasons. YouTube views are in the thousands and keep climbing; anger is building on social media; and journalists are starting to cover the story. This is an international PR nightmare; the company cannot be seen to be racist, they’ve got to get it taken down before America wakes up.” – Royal Court Theatre website.

30 May 2019

▶︎ Beneath the Blue Rinse at the Park Theatre. Matinée performance.
 
“Quentin Tarantino meets Last of the Summer Wine in this wickedly funny, high octane comedy about growing old passionately and disgracefully. When unscrupulous, over-confident salesman Simon Sudgebury comes knocking on the door of the seemingly timid Flora Parkin, hoping to scare her into buying an expensive alarm system, little does he realise what he is about to let himself in for. Feisty, charismatic 75 year old Flora and her gentle 72 year old ‘toy boy’ lover George are not what they first appear! Produced by comedy-based theatre company KEPOW! Beneath The Blue Rinse explodes stereotypes associated with ‘senior citizens’ and questions how society views and treats the elderly.” – Park Theatre website.

Review of past productions

Seventeen of the Fringe Theatre Group gathered at the back of the Maynard Arms on Thursday 31 January 2019 to talk about anything theatre related. We chatted about what we have seen and what we could see in the future, thank you to all who came for all your suggestions and constructive input.
 
We have now seen four productions in four different venues. Our first production was The Sweet Science of Bruising at the Southwark Playhouse, a tale of four women who entered the Victorian sub culture of boxing. Those of us who saw it all enjoyed the venue and the play and can recommend going to see it when it‘s on at Wilton’s Music Hall in June.
 
Our next production, on a very wet evening in November at the Kiln Theatre in Kilburn, was White Teeth, An adaptation of Zadie Smith’s book written in 2000. A very apt play for the newly refurbished theatre. The play was full of narrative and the actors were very versatile, taking on different character roles.
 

In December, on yet again a wet evening, we met in a very busy pub before going to Jermyn Street Theatre to see Burke and Hare. For those that have never been to this theatre, it’s a small basement theatre in the West End, so small it doesn’t have a bar and the toilets are behind the stage. This is a story about two scheming men who decided to enter the world of body snatching for financial gain. Nearly all of us found it entertaining and a bit of fun before Xmas. One of our party joined the cast as a “Dead Body”, she played her part so well that I overheard people deliberating as to whether she was officially part of the cast.
 

In January, the group yet again braved the elements, (I think there’s a pattern emerging here), this time it wasn’t rain but snow and went to see In Lipstick at the Pleasance. They all agreed that the venue was brilliant and buzzing. The play’s plot was confusing but well acted.
 

We have a varied programme planned for the next few months including a couple of matinées. Please keep the suggestions coming for future productions that might be of interest to the group.

By Jane Saunders