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A Guide to the Dutch Season at the Brighton Fringe
Image Credit: Macho Macho

A Guide to the Dutch Season at the Brighton Fringe

30 April 2017 | Edd Elliott

The very best of the Netherlands’ comedy, theatre and dance join the Brighton Fringe this year for the new ‘Dutch Season’. Fifteen of the most unique acts from the Amsterdam Fringe travel to England’s south coast for a month of weird and wonderful events. Sinister puppetry, puzzling mimes, steamy erotica – the Dutch Season has it all. Wondering what to see? Fear not, we’ve prepared a handy Culture Calling guide to this year’s continental takeover.

A Man with a Plan … On a Stage
 
Three theatre acts cross the channel as part of the Dutch Season this year, and they all have solitary protagonists. The much-loved and much-lauded Wacht!—a one-man mime show of a restless gallery attendant desperate to alleviate the tedium—runs from 26-28 May. This silent adventure received great reviews back in the Netherlands and has been described by News24 as ‘laugh-out-loud funny’. Equally hilarious, but far from whimsical, is Bert Hana’s Daddy Day. Not much is known about this pitch black comedy, but early indications suggest it is a truly disturbing hour in the theatre. Also to catch is WATCHING, Ceci N’est Pas De Deux, a woman-and-her-puppet show unlike anything you’d ever imagine. This dance-infused piece moves from horror to comedy to tragedy in the blink of an eye as the central doll takes over the stage.
 
Explosive Musicals
 
If you are a fan of songs on stage the Dutch Season caters to you, too. Collapse—an award-winner from the Amsterdam Fringe 2016—travels to Brighton for four performances between 31 May and 4 June. The musical explores the fate of Cassandra during the ancient epic of the siege of Troy, with live electronic music from Mathijs De Valk. It’s a stripped down set with caustic performances. On from 26 May to 4 June is The Jellyfish Trap, another musical – but this time in 3D! Audience members don colour 3D glasses to watch this adaptation of the Erik Satie play, a kind of bizarre procession of madness.
 
Gig, Concerts and … Mimes?
 
The Netherlands isn’t known for its musical prowess (although the country has won the Eurovision Song Contest four times.) The Dutch Season’s musical offerings are certainly strange. None more so than Sorry: Harald Austbø. The event’s blurb reads: ‘The Viking warrior, the HubbaBubba Gum-chewing slut and the Hermit have placed the sign “Do Not Disturb” on the door of the hotel room. They live in my head and I’ll give you a peek.’ If that doesn’t entice you to this gig, nothing will! Equally strange is Huldebiet: A Dramatic Concert, a combination of live music, film and theatre, in a strange show that stretches the very fabric of meaning. And don’t miss I Will Carry You Over Hard Times. This hypnotic mime performance has an actor playing along to the music on nonexistent instruments. It won the Amsterdam Fringe Spirit Award in 2016.
 
Doing the Dance
 
Two dance shows are included in this year’s Dutch Season. EFES is a duet where two women explore emptiness and infinity through movements to a beat in a performance that may top the Fringe for dynamism and sheer effort. There is also Macho Macho, another duet. Two oiled and muscular men interact in a homoerotic display that questions the very foundations of modern six-pack-Calvin-Klein-wearing masculinity. There will be pecs and abs. The team behind Macho Macho will also be running a mime workshop—The Beauty of the Failing Body—on 29 May. Buy a ticket to take part.


Photo credit: EFES
 
Mr Saiqo
 
Finally, Mr. Saiqo. This dark and absurd comedy duo are an entity unto themselves. Two of their shows run at the Fringe this year, and both are gleefully murky affairs. Mano a Mano sees two tramps face off against one another in a battle of mental skill and will in a sobering indictment of modern life. The pair’s performances are Tweedle Dee and Tweedle Dum, only far more grotesque. Soon afterwards comes BARRERA, an age-old tale of sad clowns crying behind the mask. Witness the pain of tomfoolery when you know it’s done with an aching heart.
 
For full details of all the Dutch Season performances, check the Brighton Fringe’s Dutch Season page.
 
 
 
 

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