Camden Fringe Festival 2007

Etcetera Theatre

The Brazner
Not Stalking Devid Tennant
The C Word
The Maids

The Brazner

In Edinburgh last week, I was struck by the lack of much real new talent on the Fringe, which seems to have become more of a stomping ground for TV comics "keeping it real" than the hothouse for new talent it once was. Not so on the Camden Fringe. The Brazner are exactly the kind of new talent who should benefit from the Etcetera's new vision for the future of summer Fringe. Tommy Ettling, Helen Betty Knott and Charlotte Young are young, talented and very, very funny. And their sketches are truly original. What more could you want? See them now and say you were in at the start.

Until 22 August 2007

Not Stalking David Tennant

Emma Hutchins' one-woman show depicts four women under pressure to have it all, so much so, in fact, that they're actually having very little at all. Helen, Jen, Isabel and Louise all have their moments, but the piece suffers from a lack of dramatic tension, so although credible it ends up sounding like just so many other women's mag pieces. If Hutchins focussed on developing one of these characters to her full potential instead of dipping into four, the piece might pack more of a punch.

Until 23 August 2007

The C Word
Queen of Arts Productions

Emma Hart's one-woman show is her own inimitable take on the C-Word, Cancer. From the sugar-coated "Cancer pills" her audience is forced to east as they enter, to the "C-Word" brand stamped on our wrists, Hart's account, based on her own brush with the disease, is in-yer-face, honest, yet amazingly upbeat.

This is no sacharine, whimsy tale of "how I got through it", but a veritable triumph of guts over statistics. Hart pulls no punches when it comes to the harsh truths of diagnosis and treatment, nor is she afraid to show her weaker moments, but the entire piece is shot through with enough wicked humour - from sly one-liners to fantasy sequences involving Big B***er tasks for cancer-sufferers - to scare even cancer into submission.

As a performer, Hart is vibrant, enthused and extremely likeable. This piece could - and should - go far.

Until 19 August 2007

The Maids
By Jean Genet
Solas Theatre Company

Based on the horrifying true story of the murder of a Parisian mistress and her daughter by their two maids, Jean Genet's disturbing exploration of the relationship between servants and their masters has another airing courtesy of Solas Theatre Company.

Cecilia Colby is the girlish, whimsical Madame whose downfall is plotted by her two maids, Claire and Solange, played by Amy de Bhrun and Claire Cordingly. The company creates a credibly chilling and sinister atmosphere and handles the complex mood changes fairly well, though the effect of the performance is somewhat let down by the lack of a credible relationship between Claire and Solange and an over-reliance on shouting which leaves the pitch with nowhere to go when the real chill sets in. A commendable attempt at a difficult play, though. It will be interesting to see where Solas goes next.

Until 26 August 2007

Reviewer: Louise Hill

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