Brighton Fringe is back with its biggest event to date, with more than 720 events and close to 3,500 performances staged across 200 venues for your pleasure this May.
For the second time the event will run for four weeks with everything from cabaret and award-winning comedy to orchestral pieces and improvised theatre.
Notably the Spiegeltent is back in the Old Steine following last year’s success and there will be an extended children’s programme running into the half-term holiday.
Julian Caddy, who is managing director for the third time, said: “As an arts festival Brighton Fringe doesn’t have any parallels in terms of depth and breadth and variety.
“So there really is something for everyone - whatever outlook and perspective you may have.
“For our part, we continue to work at supporting artists and helping develop careers, including professional advice, financial help and the promotion of work to theatres, events and festivals across the country and overseas.
“Ultimately, the principal beneficiaries are the audiences, who will be spoilt for choice again this May.”
Here are the highlights:
At the ripe old age of 80, Lynn Ruth Miller is perhaps not your standard cabaret act.
But the Fringe veteran, who has won awards across the country, has perfected the art of growing old disgracefully.
Her May 8 to 11 show at the Malborough Theatre in Princes Street is sure to be a hit.
MC Cashback, who describes himself as being “straight outta Norwich”, is also set to have audiences in stitches with his live rap-based cookery show.
Other cabaret shows to look out for include EastEnd Cabaret: Dirty Talk at Komedia in Gardner Street, on May 16 and A Berlin Kabaret at The Warren, in Russell Place, on May 13, 14 and 16.
EastEnd Cabaret: Dirty Talk is well known on the Fringe scene for its raucous, risqué and often downright smutty repertoire of musical numbers.
A Berlin Kabaret is described as Lady Gaga meets Brecht. Expect songs on the subject of revolution, love and exile.
Finally, it wouldn’t be Brighton Fringe without the jaw-dropping Ladyboys of Bangkok.
The group will be back in Victoria Gardens with their latest seductive treat.
The comedy programme at the Fringe is always a highlight and this year is no exception.
There will be established names, event veterans and newcomers galore across the four weeks.
Tickets will go in a shot for the likes of critically acclaimed Stewart Lee, who will be at Bom Bane’s Cafe in George Street on May 20.
Other established acts set to perform include Robin Ince at Upstairs at Three and Ten in Steine Street on May 13 and Zoe Lyons from BBC’s Mock the Week at Komedia on May 4 and June 1.
Other standout events from the 200 plus shows include the return of Luisa Omielan following her Argus Angel winning performance What Would Beyonce Do? At last year’s Fringe.
Her new show, titled Am I Right Ladies?!, will be at the Caroline of Brunswick in Ditchling Road.
Blind comedian Jamie MacDonald is also expected to be a hot ticket this May with his stand-up show That Funny Blind Guy.
Describing himelf as “Britain’s premier visually impaired stand-up”, his new show tells of his organising of a stag do.
Things get off to a bad start when an online booking error leads his group of friends on a three-day bender to Auschwitz.
The show, which is billed as a triumph of humour over eye-sight, is sure to be popular between May 12 and 18 at The Temple in Western Road.
Also returning following the success of last year, is Sh*t faced Shakespeare. The raucous performance sees a cast of classically trained actors take on a 60-minute adaptation of one of the Bard’s greatest works.
Where this performance stands out from many of the other classical theatre pieces at the Fringe is that one of the actors is blind drunk.
The group will be at The Warren throughout the month.
While the dance section may not be the largest – there is a little bit of something for everybody.
Bridging the Void, at the All Saints Centre in Friars Walk on May 29, will explore the Native American saying “every night is followed by sunrise” through dance.
Completely different will be Tribal Remix with their belly dance fusion show. They will mix their traditional techniques with the likes of street dance and flamenco at their performance at the Sallis Benney Theatre in Grand Parade on May 3.
If you are looking for something a little more left-field then try Wander, Gander, Loiter...Meander at the Funky Fish Club in the New Madeira Hotel on May 28 and 29, or Danceitation: Conscious Clubbing at the Brighton Buddhist Centre, in Tichborne Street, on May 17.
Wander, Gander, Loiter...Meander is described as an evening of dance and silent disco fun while Danceitation: Conscious Clubbing is an alcohol free socks-off dance meditation.
The events section of the programme is a mix of Fringe regulars and newcomers The Foodies Festival will be back on Hove Lawns across May Bank Holiday (May 3 to 5) with the Labour Party holding their annual selection of talks with the likes of Tony Benn (May 31) Michael Meacher MP (May 17) and Mark Serwotka, general secretary of the Public and Commercial Services Union (May 20).
One of the new events which looks set to be a hit is the Brighton Photomarathon on May 11.
The photo competition with a twist will see budding snappers tasked with taking 12 photos on 12 given topics in just 12 hours. The winner bags a £300 prize.
Elsewhere, a live roller derby featuring Brighton Rockers taking on Middlesbrough Milk Rollers on May 10 looks set to be a blast.
Everything from the deadly serious to the downright bizarre makes up the literary programme this year.
Much Ado About Noshing will be a fun-filled romp through Jewish food and culture at Waterstones in North Street on May 8.
Spoken word poet Scroobius Pip and Hollie McNish at Komedia on May 28 will be a fast seller along with Andie Airfix at the Spiegeltent on May 16.
The designer, who has created artwork for the likes of Rolling Stones, Metallica, Def Leppard, , AC/DC, Led Zeppelin and Paul McCartney, will talk about how he goes about his creations.
For something a little different, Brighton’s Chris Parkinson, who was behind the prank walrus Gumtree advert which is set to be made into a film, will read his poetry at The Western Front, in Cranbourne Street, on May 8, 22 and 29.
Music lovers can enjoy everything from classical concerts and beat-boxers to harpists and a 23 piece mandolin orchestra.
Classical music lovers will have plenty to enjoy with the likes of South African pianist Johan de Cock’s Chopin recital on May 17, soprano Patricia Rozario’s musical journey through some of John Rutter’s work on May 10 and the Canticle Chamber Choir’s version of some of Handel and Monteverdi’s works on May 17.
Elsewhere there will be a performance from the Blues Corporation Live on May 31, rock from Jacques And The Giants on May 23-24 and plenty of folk from the likes of Eliza Skelton, who will perform on May 5.
Other performances to look out for include The Shakespeare Heptet Fringe Show at The Blue Man on May 16 and 17.
The musicians compose songs for the Bard’s sonnets in a folk/blues style.
Brighton’s very own Terry Garoghan is also set to return with his musical show The Man in Slacks at Komedia on May 11, 18 and 26.
The theatre programme looks set to serve up a series of Argus Angel winning performances with a huge variety of shows.
Among the vast number of performances to watch out for are the likes of Montfort’s March, which will run throughout the month, and Major Tom on May 12.
Montfort’s March is a site specific show put on to coincide with the 750th anniversary of the Battle of Lewes.
Audiences will be guided four miles over the Downs to mark the route Montfort’s Army took in their epic fight for democracy.
Major Tom tells the true story of how a beauty queen became inspired by the struggles of her basset hound.
Another show set for packed audiences is 366 Days of Kindness which tells the story of a women’s reaction to the London Riots.
Following the violence she resolved to do a random act of kindness for a stranger every day. She left sweets in phone boxes, £5 notes on buses and offered her socks to the homeless.
In one of the more unusual venues this year, Preston Manor will host an interactive murder mystery with No Weddings But A Funeral.
Audience members will be invited to attend the funeral of Sir Thomas Drew, lord of Preston Manor in 1940. Was it foul play or not? You decide.
Explore Brighton and Hove
There are 27 different ways to explore the city at this year’s event From the Victorian Sewers to Ghost Walks of the Lanes, Brighton Cemetery to Middle Street Synagogue, there will be something for everyone.
Among the highlights of the visual arts section is A Graceful Death running from May 20 to 23 and Andy Seize’s Off the Rails from May 7 to 14.
A Graceful Death will feature 52 paintings of people facing their own deaths. The moving piece includes paintings, poetry, piano music and film and will be at St Peter’s Church.
Andy Seize’s Off the Rails will see the graffiti artist’s trademark bright colours and bold artworks spread across a life-sized tube train in the Hilton Metropole Hotel.
New for this year is the Arts Council supported industry showcase WINDOW.
The mini-festival within a festival will feature 12 special acts as chosen by industry experts.
Mr Caddy said: “I’m particularly excited by WINDOW this year.
“These are guaranteed high quality performances which we are very lucky to have.
“It will be a fantastic opportunity for Brighton audiences. All these acts are destined for big things.”
The award winning Spiegeltent is back at the Fringe following a near sell-out run last year.
The popular venue, which will be pitched in Old Steine once again, will be in the city for the full four weeks.
But while it was largely reserved for cabaret show La Clique last year, 2014 will see a wider variety of shows.
In total there will be 39 different productions with everything from dance and live music to theatre and comedy.
Among the highlights is set to be Lost in Transit, a cabaret story to stir the senses between May 13 and 17.
Musical highlights come courtesy of the likes of An Evening of Americana Music on May 18 and folk songstress Eliza Skelton and Friends on May 5.
Tiger Lillies, who wowed audiences at last year’s Brighton Festival, are set for sell-out performances on May 24 and 25 while an extensive children’s programme will continue across the month.
Another show to look out for in the tent is the Harman group, who will perform their brand of contemporary dance on May 31.
The Great Escape music festival, which takes place in the city, will also take over the venue between May 8 and 10 for a number of gigs.
Mr Caddy said: “We are very excited to have the Spiegeltent back this year.
“It will be great to see them in the Old Steine with such a wide variety of shows.”
This year also sees the largest selection of family events ever. To cater with the vast number of child friendly shows, organisers have decided to launch a standalone Family Guide.
In total there are more than 200 such events with others still being added to the line-up.
Among the highlights are John Hegley performing I am a Poetato, Just So – a new play based on stories by Rudyard Kipling and The Fishing Museum’s Fringe of Fun –which will feature puppet shows and treasure hunts.
A huge family picnic in Pavilion Gardens on the first Saturday will kick off the children’s programme.
Don’t miss The Argus on March 11 for your free pullout guide.
This year’s Fringe brochure cover comes from Brighton-based illustrator Jamie Eke.
The University of Brighton graduate was given the brief to come up with something that depicted a catalyst for creativity Mr Caddy said: “What he has come up with is fantastic – it is almost otherworldly.
“We have also used his artwork throughout the programme and he will have his own show in May.”
Tickets for Friends of the Fringe go on sale from 9am today.
Events will go on sale to the wider public at noon on March 5.
To book go to www.brightonfringe.org.
Alternatively, the new Fringe box office will be open from March 5 in Brighton Square (opposite Donatello Restaurant).