Image © Brighton Fringe via Facebook

Best of Brighton Fringe: The Must-See Shows of 2019

Maisy Farren

It’s no surprise that Brighton’s hub of creativity and artistic prowess is home to England’s largest annual arts festival, and that the four-week event hosts over 1000 shows in over 150 venues. In a project which aims to embrace every art form, the Fringe is a diversely curated collection of performances, events and workshops, and showcases any and every creative performance art.

Performing at the Fringe is completely open-access, which means that anyone can register and perform. Without a harsh show selection process the festival allows performers to take risks, as well as supporting both seasoned and aspiring artists. This results in the Fringe having something for literally everyone, which can be overwhelming when trying to decide what shows to go to. We’ve rounded up the shows we think should be on your radar for this year’s Fringe. 

Image credit: The Queer Historian via Facebook 

Betsy: The Wisdom of a Brighton Whore 
Something Underground’s award nominated one-woman show is a tale of sex, seduction and survival in the underworld of 1800’s Brighton. Betsy is a Brightonian at work, having parted with St Mary’s Home for Penitent Women, providing comfort to members of the town brotherhood. The show is a prequel to Something Underground’s The Well and a prequel to The Silent Stream, and is a celebrated ‘secret gem of the fringe’. 
This show costs £10 and is on 3-25 May at The Old Ship Hotel. 

With men’s mental health being a hotly discussed topic (and rightly so), PULP is an autobiographical theatre piece exploring grief, toxic masculinity and coming to terms with what it means to be a man. After the death of his father, Sam is forced to face his inner demons. 
This show costs £10 and is on 15-18 May at The Warren.

How Disabled Are You? 
Three disabled people who claim benefits, and have no performance background, read a script on stage for the first time. These scripts display the opinions of people filled with aggression, violence and over exposure to the Daily Mail. Exploring the real-life attitudes to disabled people, this sounds like an extremely interesting concept. 
This show costs £9.50 and is on 3-18 May at Junkyard Dogs. 

Image credit: Hot Mess via Facebook 

Hot Mess: Bezzie Mates 
Bezzie mates Max and Anna filmed themselves writing silly sketches for a year and display a years-worth of hilarious content and heart-warming friendship. Switching between their sketches and the footage, the show is a hilarious Edinburgh Fringe success. 
This show costs £10 and is on 5 May at The Warren. 

Bla Bla Land 
A warm and witty improvised comedy show by beloved Brighton troupe Tea & Toast. Inspired by the Hollywood film La La Land, each night the troupe visit a different city and introduce you to its quirky characters. Being completely improvised each night offers a brand-new show, so don’t hesitate to go and see it more than once! 
This show costs £8 and is on 2-21 May at The Warren. 

Young up-and-coming comedians Tom Smith and Carl Carzana present a show about the perplexing nature of being an adult and growing up questioning things from wolves to party crisp etiquette. Expect hilarious audience interaction and strong language as they get to grips with being grown-ups. 
This show is free and is on 3-30 May at Junkyard Dogs. 

The Sexist Pistols
A show where ambition meets confused anarchy, award-winning Brighton comedians Tandy Houghton and Cat Neilson present The Sexist Pistols. A combination of sketch show and stand-up, this show is described as ‘the best Fringe fun you will ever have without cutting your hair badly’ – make of that what you will! 
This show is free and is on 4-23 May at both The Caxton Arms and Junkyard Dogs (shorter show). 

APAPAlypse Now: Childproofing for the End of Days
Comedians JB Carter and Phillip Alexander have brought kids into this world- together or separately? We’re not entirely sure. Either way, they’re presenting a comedy show about childproofing the apocalypse. Should they start digging bunkers or just put down their social media newsfeeds? Find out at their two-man comedy show. 
This show is free and is on 5-19 May at The Black Dove. 

Image credit: Polyglamorous via Facebook 

A seafront queer dance party with strictly enforced colour themes, drag hosts and Brighton’s best LGBTQ+ DJs. Wear glamorous gold and ‘drag’ yourself down to the Spiegeltent for a night of pop and queer anthems and shameless dancing. 
This event costs £10 and is on 11 May at Brighton Spiegeltent. 

Fringe Club: A Silent Disco 
Is there anything better than a silent disco? What better way to celebrate a month of creativity and joy than with a cheesy silent disco: featuring fancy dress, special DJs and takeovers. 
This event costs £5 (except for the first night which is free) and is on from 2-5 May at The Warren. 

Image credit: Brighton SEA LIFE Centre via Facebook 

Aquarium History Tour at Sealife Centre 
A unique guided tour of the world’s oldest operating aquarium. Watch an illustrated talk then follow a guided tour of the historic Victorian Gothic-style building after regular Sealife hours. 
This event costs £15 and is on 3-7 May at Sea Life Brighton. 

Image credit: Bowiesque via Facebook 
Cabaret, Circus & Music 

Bowiesque Live 
One of the UK’s leading David Bowie tribute acts, this five-piece band put on the ultimate Bowie experience. Performing all the hits with skill and precision, their show is a must-see for casual and die-hard fans alike. 
This show costs £14 and is on 4 May at The Brunswick. 

Pride to Youth: Drag it Out 
A flamboyant cabaret-style drag event that celebrates the young LGBTQIAPP+ community. Expect lip syncs, drag races and so much more. The event is presented by student run company TBC from Sussex creative arts college, so strut down to see some local queens ‘drag it out’ whilst supporting local young creatives. 
This show costs £10 and is on 3 May at Brighton Unitarian Church.

A risqué cabaret performance chronicling the tales of some of the most enigmatic and misunderstood women throughout history. Meet badass feminist characters such as Lilith, biblical Adam’s mythological first-wife who hated babies and refused to lie under him, and Freddie Oversteegen, a Dutch teenager who fought sabotage Nazi presence in the Netherlands. Sullen and sultry songs performed with a definite empowering undertone. 
This show costs £10 and is on 2-4 May at The Warren. 

For more info head to Brighton Fringe

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