Wednesday, 23 July 2014

Coming and Going at Fringe 2014: 'The Great War' and 'Shrew'

Darren Poyzer has made many new friends at the Fringe. His show is great but more than that he has supported the Fringe by opening Fringe Sunday and playing at Fringe at Five. His final appearance with his show 'The War to End All Wars' is on Saturday 26 July at 4pm the centenary of the start of the 'Great War'.

"an excellent musician who performs with kindness, honesty and a smile in his eyes ... his music and 
song writing is beautiful ... one of my Fringe highlights" - Toni Saxton, Buxton Festival Fringe 2014

Aged just 18, Darren Poyzer was on the Royal Navy's front line during the Falklands Conflict of 1982. 
Now as he reaches his 50th year, he has written to deliver a genuinely unique, heartfelt and soul-searching WW1 Commemoration performance. Described as an up close and personal, alternative to Pomp and Ceremony, The War To End All Wars charts Darren’s own story and, using a selection of self-penned songs landscaped by authentic video footage, pays breathtaking respect to the 100th anniversary of the outbreak of 'The Great War'.

Known and respected as one of the finest songwriters in the North West, he has performed live at many prestigious festivals and venues across the UK, including Glastonbury, Edinburgh Fringe, Acoustic Festival Of Britain and The International Guitar Festival of Great Britain.

Originally from Glossop and having spent his childhood in The Peak District, Darren makes a very special return to Buxton, having previously played the Opera House stage in 2009.

Opening on 24 July and playing for four nights is a new play 'Shrew' by Ami Jones. Based loosely on Shakespeare see and read more here: 
The Shrew team spent a day on the Thames Path in London painting walls white, tearing up books and bouncing tennis balls.   

Watch the trailer here:

Shrew will be appearing at the Buxton Fringe (24th-27th July) and the Edinburgh Fringe (31st July - 25th August) before heading to New York for the United Solo Festival (uFest) in October.

For more information, visit or follow us on Twitter @shrewtheplay  

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Thursday 24 July: Horror, the Shrew and shades of Hitchcock!

Not quite the lull before the storm – but a dozen new shows will premiere over the last weekend of Fringe 2014. Before then there are still 30 shows and events to choose from today – starting at 9.30am and finishing at 11.15pm. That’s big for a ‘school night’.

Among the new shows is a play at Scrivener’s bookshop. Starting at 7.30pm ‘The Good Lady Ducayne’ is based on a Victorian horror story written by Mrs Elizabeth Braddon in 1896 – the year before ‘Dracula’ was published. The creepy nooks and creaky crannies of the shop will make an ideal setting.

Drawing loosely on Shakespeare is Ami Jones’ new play ‘Shrew’. Kate is trapped. She drinks, does housework and reminisces. She’d like her life to add up to much more. This play is going to New York soon – save yourselves the airfare and see it at 6.15 in Underground Venues.

Staring a three-night run tonight is ‘Back Door’ a dramatic re-working of Hitchcock’s ‘Rear Window’. Tabitha has broken a leg and is vulnerable; she receives reports that her new neighbour is a cross-dressing enigma who may have murdered her dance partner. ‘Back Door’ is at 9pm in Underground Venues.

Leaving the Fringe today is comedian John Cooper with his show ‘Picture of Cats’. The Fringe Review reported of the first night: You never really know what to expect as a Fringe reviewer, descriptions in programmes can be misleading on occasions. This is, however, one of those shows that ‘does what it says on the tin’. Cats and pictures of cats is what you get. Pictures of cats – cute cats, sad cats, angry cats, weird cats, love cats – they were all there and had the audience ooooing and ahhhhhing.

It’s also ‘goodbye’ to poet Mark Gwynne Jones with his family show on the magic of language ‘Wordworms’ which is at the Pavilion Arts Centre at 6.15pm. Mark will happily sell you the book for £5 and sign it for you. The poems should excite any young reader and Mark’s performance will live in the memory.

Tonight sees the final performance of a new play – ‘Boy on a bed’ which explores the relationship between an athlete – Adam – and a painter – Benedict – through the different perspectives of a number of friends. ‘Boy on a bed’ is at 7.30 in the Arts Centre Studio.

‘Completely bonkers’ said the Fringe Reviewer of ‘One was nude and one wore tails’ – a farce about social class. This is ‘bonkers’ in the best possible way; we think she liked the play and it has its last showing at 5pm today.

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The variety that is the Fringe - six new shows

Six new shows open on the Fringe today and in their own way they illustrate the range and diversity of artistic endeavour that is showcased throughout the Festival.

‘Shakespearience’ is the second new show from Three’s Company and it takes bits and pieces of the Bard’s writing and reassembles them. No doubt some purists will object but it will – if previous Three’s Company shows are anything to go by – will be witty, fun, challenging and a chance to hear cheek by jowl bits of Shakespeare that you otherwise wouldn’t. 7.45 at Underground Venues.

‘Hans my hedgehog’ is a new show ‘for families’ by former Buxton resident Anna Beecher. Anna tells anew story with clear roots in traditional tales. A woman longs for a child but her son is born covered in hedgehog quills. A lost man makes a wild promise and a young girl longs for a handsome husband. Recommended for all aged 6 and over Anna begins the story of Hans at 5pm.

‘Over the garden fence’ is a new piece of theatre at the Arts Centre Studio. Join Annabelle and her grandmother Dolly on their heartfelt, amusing and often frustrating journey as they come to terms with the onset of Dolly’s dementia.

‘Dr Sketchy Sheffield’ provides you with an opportunity to draw some of the best burlesque, cabaret and circus-style performers – who will pose for your drawing pleasure as well as perform, live for your entertainment. A one-off opportunity this Fringe at the Old Clubhouse from 7.30pm.

The High Peak Magic Society return for ‘An evening of close up magic’. This always sells-out and you’ll need to check at the Opera House for ticket availability. At The Palace Hotel tonight and tomorrow.

‘Soiree’ is a new play and is being performed at Buxton Community School’s drama studio for the next three nights. A dinner party has been organised to welcome the return of a friend. Two couples make up the party. What should have been an enjoyable evening quickly turns bad and could be the last straw for one of the couples.

The Dotdotdot Flamenco Company opened last night to absolutely rave reviews. They are at the Arts Centre Studio for three more nights starting at 9pm. The dance, song and music were all highly acclaimed. You may want to see and hear what the fuss is all about. If you are in the Pavilion Gardens at 5pm over the next three nights get a free taster at Fringe At Five.

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Tuesday, 22 July 2014

The Last Tuesday of Fringe 2014

It looks like being another fine day in Buxton and for those with the time to relax and enjoy it the Fringe offers its usual mix of entertainment today.

This afternoon Mart Rodger’s Manchester Jazz plays at Buxton Methodist Church. Mart reported recently that his trumpet player has been told by his doctor not to play while he awaits a heart operation – but he has a fine deputy lined-up for Buxton. Mart and his band play a splendid mixture of traditional and Dixieland jazz with energy and passion. If you miss out today they are back on Saturday night.

The Dotdotdot Flamenco Company flew in from Madrid yesterday and brought some sunshine with them. The six-strong group of dancers and musicians are playing four nights at the Pavilion Arts Centre Studio. They have also said that they’ll be at the free Fringe At Five events in the Pavilion Gardens on Wednesday-Friday (5pm at the Bandstand). So no excuse for missing what should be an exciting show.

Also starting this afternoon is the first of two new productions by Three’s Company. Today at 3.45pm sees the first performance of ‘The Adventure Machine’ in which the audience helps guide our hero through a spoof fantasy world. Yaz Al-Shaater and Tom Crawshaw who met and grew-up in Buxton and now manage the Fringe Underground Venues at the Old Hall Hotel are two-thirds of Three’s Company.

Sudden Impulse Theatre Company offer new late-night entertainment with a political farce by Italian playwright Dario Fo. ‘One Was Nude And One Wore Tails’ is a comic observation of what makes for class difference in western society.

Today sees final performances from local trombone legend Sam Slide (tickets for his show at the Old Clubhouse are pretty hot); the comic trio, Gein’s Family Giftshop went down very well earlier in the Fringe, “Constantly keeping you off balance, the consummate actors race through their funny, weird, short vignettes. Their energetic acting intensity is full on and one is amazed to find that a full hour has slipped by. You are forced to listen intently to catch some of the punch lines whilst the material seems to arrive in no logical order” was part of the reviewer’s report.

It’s goodbye to another comedian – Caimh (‘Queeve’) McDonnell – who has charmed previous audiences with his adult show: “Ostensibly the show was about moving South, from Manchester to London, but his style and range of subject took the White-Haired Irishman (a passable human pint of Guinness in his black outfit) through a comedy glossary of daft and funny things, eminently bonkers and laugh-out-loud mad.” (Fringe Review).

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Monday, 21 July 2014

Final Week of Fringe 2014 starts today

The last week of Buxton’s 35th Festival Fringe begins today – and it is a good chance to catch up with what you might have missed before a host of new shows open later in the week.

Bern and Betsy Budd’s ‘Mark Twain’s The Diaries of Adam and Eve’ finishes its run on Tuesday before they fly back to Boston. Twain’s prose is so rich and fun-filled they can deliver his account of why a brontosaurus doesn’t make a good pet – and various observations on why women seem to be so much more energetic and creative than men – pretty much straight.

Another show that has been getting good audiences – sell-outs in fact – is ‘Lapse’ by Shadow Syndicate. The Fringe reviewer wrote of this new play: What a show! Lapse has taken me on an emotional roller-coaster; this clever and contemporary show illustrates how one event can ripple and cause others to occur. With a small ensemble of just six young actors people may ask if they would be able to honour such a dramatic event in which 9/11 was. The answer is YES. There are just two more performances of ‘Lapse’.

Another play finishing soon is Uproot Theatre’s two-man adaptation of Shakespeare’s ‘Corioloanus’. Buxton Drama League’s Toni Saxton reviewed this for the Fringe website: I cannot speak for the other ‘people’ in the audience, however, I cannot wait to go and see this production again. I have a feeling that more questions may arise, some may be answered but above all I will have another evening of mesmerizing theatre. Do Not Miss going to see Coriolanus.

Opening tonight is comedian Kelly Kingham with a show called ‘Inside Out’. He comes enthusiastically recommended by other audiences who describe him as provoking ‘gales of laughter’ and as being ‘immensely likeable and talented’. He is at Underground Venues at 7pm.

Also opening tonight is ‘In the penal colony’ – an adaptation of the Kafka short story by Stephen Berkoff. This production is by Sudden Impulse Theatre Company which brings two shows to this year’s Fringe.

Sadly we need to alert you to the fact the much anticipated performances by Soweto Encha due to open in St John’s Church tonight have been cancelled.

Buxton Fringe

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Saturday, 19 July 2014

It will be SUNday July 20

On Saturday you may have heard Kenny Robertson history of rock guitar. Today – by way of contrast perhaps – there is a second and final chance to hear acoustic guitar virtuoso David Youngs at Underground Venues at 3.45. At the same venue at 12.45 is an intriguing offer – ‘Lullaby of Andalusia’ which draws on the poetry of Lorca, the music of Falla and flamenco. This show is brought to us by ARKangel and the same company is back at 5.30pm with a tribute to Ella Fitzgerald – who fought racial and sexual stereotypes to forge a great career. Expect a non-stop parade of great songs accompanied by violin and guitar. Perfect for early evening in summer.

The Buxton Festival is putting on a number of productions as part of the Fringe. Today there is a real treat. Olivier-nominated actor Gerard Logan is doing a one-man show ‘Wilde Without The Boy’. Oscar Wilde reflects on his life in a prison cell. There will be wit, of course, and pathos in this presentation of ‘De Profundis’, Wilde’s letter to his lover. This is in the Arts Centre Auditorium at 2pm.

There are other musical choices at 2pm. John Thomson returns to Buxton for a piano recital at the United Reformed Church – he’ll be playing Beethoven, Chopin, Bartok and a sonata that he composed. Sideways Band have been very visible throughout this Fringe and they at Underground Venues today.

Nearby, in the Old Hall Hotel, something of a Fringe tradition continues. Fringe Readings is exactly that – spend about 30 minutes listening to someone reading from a favourite book. You can’t be sure who will be reading- or what they will be reading from – but it that unexpectedness is part of the pleasure; at 2pm and 3pm.

A number of performers leave Buxton today – so it is your last chance to see: comedian Ruth E Cockburn (8.30 at Underground Venues); the improve show ‘The Good, The Bad and the Unexpected’ (9pm at Underground); His and Hers Wild Vaudeville in the Piano Lounge at The Old Hall Hotel (8pm) and Alastair Clark’s political/comedy ‘Vote Russell Brand’ (7pm at Underground).

If you want to study the Fringe programme at your leisure – or read reviews of shows to help you make your choices – go to the Fringe website or visit the Fringe information desk in the Conservatory next to the Opera House.

Buxton Fringe

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Friday, 18 July 2014

Saturday 19 July at The Fringe

The middle weekend of the Buxton Fringe is packed with possibilities and opportunities and you could have a whole weekend of artistic indulgence for free. There are art exhibitions at the Buxton Museum and Gallery, the Green Man Gallery, at the Spring Bank Arts Centre New Mills. For this weekend only at the Dome – home to Fringe sponsors, the University of Derby – is the Peak District Artisans Art Fair. Over 50 artists and craftworkers will be displaying a fantastic array of work and there will be free talks and displays.

Taking to the streets of Buxton on Saturday – fingers-crossed for the weather – will be the Chapel-en-le-Frith Morris Men and 19 other Morris dance sides. For many people this will be their only encounter with the Fringe. Chapel Morris have been working hard to engage people with Morris dancing – running a workshop for beginners, producing cut-out paper Morris figures and organising a competition to find 21 Mini-Morris figures in 21 locations around town. Their energy, wit and enthusiasm deserve reward.

There are a number of one-off music events to look forward to and to squeeze in. On Saturday at St Mary’s Church at 3pm ChorAlchemy – a Youth Chamber Choir – will be presenting a wide-ranging programme drawing on cabaret, church music, pop, jazz and folk. At St John's the ever-popular and rightly admired Amaretti Chamber Orchestra brings us the music of Debussy, Vaughan Williams, Richard Strauss and others - starting at 7.30pm.

At the Methodist Church at 8pm the Sovereign Saxophone Octet will be celebrating the 200th birthday of Adolphe Sax, inventor of the saxophone. They will be playing music dating from across that whole period (and beyond).

Kenny Robertson will be doing a different sort of musical history – celebrating the blood, sweat and tears behind rock guitar. Beginning with the Delta blues and coming up to grunge and new metal. Kenny is going to get a bit of Django Reinhardt in there too.

If that sounds a bit too heavy for you the prospect of hearing 40 recorders might tickle your fancy. The Manchester Recorder Orchestra is at Trinity Church from 7.30 playing mostly pieces written for such a large ensemble – but with some Vivaldi in the programme by way of contrast.

On the drama front there is an ingenious small-scale adaptation (two-man, one-hour) of Shakespeare’s ‘Coriolanus’ which starts at Underground Venues at 6.15 – giving you just enough time to get to the Hydro for the start of another miniaturised production. ‘The Railway Children’ - should be ‘child’ given the casting – which the Crowd of Two Theatre Company is bringing to the Hydro CafĂ© in Spring Gardens starts at 7.30pm.

Amongst the Underground Venues comedy offer you’ll find: Alan Gibbons with tales of life as an Amateur Zookeeper (3.45); The Dead Secrets’ sketch show ‘Bulletproof Jest’ reaches the end of its run (10.30pm) and at the Arts Centre Studio Lolie Ware draws on her experiences as a full-time care (9.45pm). Not obvious comedy material, perhaps, but Lolie aims to break down some of the taboos and negativity around a role that more and more people find themselves taking on.

Buxton Fringe

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