If like me, you’ve often passed Bedlam Theatre by during the Fringe, you’re missing out. That’s if last night’s press launch showcase is anything to go by. As a student theatre, this neo-gothic (once church) building is always thronging with the young. But while their programme is geared toward a youthful audience, it by no means excludes pre-millennial generations. Packed with fresh, exciting and wonderfully diverse performances, this venue’s line-up is well worth perusing.
The launch provided excerpts from five of the acts featuring in the 2018 programme. First up, Bruised Sky Productions performed a darkly funny segment of their new play, Vivarium. This was followed by stand-up from Lulu Popplewell (who you may have seen and heard on Comedy Central, BBC Three or BBC Radio 4). Popplewell shares her slot with fellow stand-up Sophie Duker and is a definite rising star on the circuit with raw, urban, contemporary and beguilingly natural material.
The expense of accommodation and challenges of bringing a show to the Fringe can often result in very many one or two person shows (bar the big, money spinning venues of course). So it’s always a delight to enjoy a larger cast at a relatively smaller venue. The multi-award winning Theatre Movement Bazaar are a quirky, wonderfully weird and skillful ensemble, blending music, physical theatre and dialogue in their new show Grail Project. It’s funny in a unique way, energetic, a feast for the eyes and ears and an absolute must-see if you’re seeking something a little less ordinary, perfectly executed.
Transgress (Mary Higgins and Ell Potter) received glowing reviews last year and it’s easy to see why. Performing an excerpt from (even) HOTTER, the duo are clever, inventive, creative and of course, funny. Miming to vox pops the pair had previously gathered on the show’s central theme, they have the audience enthralled and in fits of laughter. It’s upbeat, fresh and delicious.
Headlining the night was Ken Cheng with a excerpt from his new show Best Dad Ever. You may recognise this comedian as being the winner of last year’s Dave’s “Joke of the Fringe” (“I’m not a fan of the new pound coin, but then again, I hate all change.”). Cheng is no one trick pony though and returns this year with sparkling material about his family, race, migration and his experiences as a Chinese comedian, both in his personal and professional life.
The Edinburgh Fringe is all about uncovering hidden gems and Bedlam offers the opportunity to see plenty of them under one ornate roof. To find out more head here.