Hamlet (An Experience)

Sweet Dukebox, May 5, 12 and 19

Countless theatre groups have tackled William Shakespeare’s tragedy, and few have truly done something new with it. But this show looks to be a genuinely unique retelling of the story of betrayal and revenge. Emily Carding plays Hamlet and the audience play a collective role of the players arriving at Elsinore. This crowd interaction gives yet another layer to the “play within a play” device that has gone down in literary history. Brite Theatre have form in translating The Bard’s work to stage, having produced a one-woman version of Richard III a few years back.


The Old Market, May 22 to 25

**** Theatre, winners of the 2016 Fringe First Award, return to present their colourful tribute to Dolly Parton. The performance group have previously taken on politically-charged themes so this is a clear move to the light side – although the show still promises to examine immortality and death. All in a night’s work.


The Warren, May 29 to June 1

A moving play about the life of Martyn Hett, one of the victims of the Manchester Arena bomb attack. The show comes to the Fringe almost one year on from the tragic event. #BeMoreMartyn is named after a hashtag that trended online hours after the 29-year-olds’s death. It’s created with the full support of Martyn’s family and draws from interviews with eight of Martyn’s closest friends. Sure to be an emotional and fitting tribute.

La Boheme

Brighton Open Air Theatre, May 10

The only opera at the Fringe looks like a good one – Puccini’s best-loved work is brought to life by Heritage Opera. The story tracks the love affair of impoverished Rodolfo and Mimi as they struggle to survive in Paris. This version is sung in English and accompanied by piano.

Franz Kafka – Apparatus

Rialto Theatre, May 4, 13, 21, 22, 25, 26

This adaptation of Franz Kafka’s story In The Penal Colony merges comedy, tragedy and horror in a dark comedic production. In The Penal Colony was written during the First World War and features a grotesque apparatus used for torture. The show is presented by Blue Devil’s Theatre, who have staged a number of other plays at the Fringe over the years.

Rob Kemp: The Elvis Dead

Komedia, May 7 and 28

This show sounds like a hard sell, but it has won awards at Edinburgh Fringe. Cult horror movie Evil Dead 2 is reinterpreted through the songs of Elvis Presley. You don’t have to be familiar with either film nor pop star to appreciate the production, apparently – it’s much more universal than it sounds.

Barbecue: The Musical

Sweet Werks 1, May 12, 25 and 26

This is another play with a bizarre premise (well it wouldn’t be the Fringe otherwise, would it?) In Daniel Searle’s creation, a group of suburb dwellers decide to hold a barbecue on what may be one of their last afternoons on Earth. Britain is on the brink of nuclear war but the guests are more occupied by trying not to burn the sausages and making sure Graham, the bore from next door, doesn’t invite himself over.

This Boy Tom

The Old Courtroom, May 6 and 11, June 1, 2, 3

This touching family show, performed entirely by children between the ages of nine and 14, made its debut at the Fringe last year to acclaim. Written by Natalie Sexton, This Boy Tom explores bullying and belonging. Tom is marked by the fire that took the life of his little brother, but with the help of a new girl at school he hopes to find friendship and new meaning.


The Southern Belle, May 7 to 10

Few plays have delved into mental illness and poverty – and society’s uncaring attitude towards both – like Georg Buchner’s classic tale. Woyzeck is the story of a man who is driven down a dark path with no help from any quarter. It’s bleak, engrossing fare and should be adapted with aplomb by theatre group Squall + Frenzy.


The Marlborough, May 7 and 10

A night of spoken word by Subira Wahogo about being black, queer and angry. Subira merges the personal and political, touching on their own experiences of being a woman of colour in today’s society. Although one of the predominant tones of Subira’s work is injustice, there will be tenderness and laughter on the night too. Sure to be thought-provoking.

Classic Women: Mary Beard And Natalie Haynes With Damian Barr

Theatre Royal Brighton, May 4

Professor Mary Beard and writer Natalie Haynes ask two basic questions: Who are history’s most powerful women? And how can their stories empower us today? Expect stories of exceptional women both fictional and non-fictional, from warrior queens to artistic pioneers.

Greek Mythology Tour Of Brighton

Brighton Museum And Art Gallery, May 12 and 19

Amid all the vibrant performances and cabaret colour of the Fringe, you might yearn for something a little more educational and rooted in history. That’s where this event comes in. Dr Amada Potter from the Open University focuses on 20 objects in Brighton that have links to Greek mythology. The tour starts at Brighton Museum.

Tina C’s 20: 20 Vision

Brighton Spiegeltent, May 31 to June 2

The Fringe veteran is back and explaining how she ran for presidency. Expect many ruminations on Donald Trump, of course, but also how she became a multi-award-winning country music singer who went from white trash to pop stardom.

Adriano Fettucini’s Random Acts

Brighton Toy And Model Museum, May 24 and 25

The Brighton-based cabaret performer is renowned for his precarious juggling, using objects such as hats, gloves, spectacles, plates, knives and babies.

Finnish Season

ONE of the new attractions at this year’s Fringe is a selection of shows by Finnish performers. Here are our picks of them:

Queer Homo

The Old Market, Hove, May 28 and 29

Based on Juuso Kekkonen’s true experiences, this is a stand-up show about a straight man who fell in love with another man. It explores transgender and identity issus in a laugh-a-minute performance. 

Dark Side Of The Mime

The Old Market, Hove, 28 and 29

This mime show merges humour and comedy and focuses on the intersection between the two. There are some dark themes and occasional references to violence so it’s not suitable for children. 


The Old Market, Hove, May 23, 24 and 25

A dance performance that shines a light on the harsh world of ballroom dancing. Milla Virtanen and Jaakko Toivonen are both former dance champions so have a lot of real-life experience to bring to the production.

The Fabulous Bäckström Brothers

The Old Market, Hove, May 31 to June 2

Directed by Spymonkey’s Toby Park (who lives in Brighton) and Aitor Basuari, this is a musical-comedy performance that tells a story of two opera-singing brothers travelling along Route 66. 

Gender Euphoria 

Marlborough Theatre, May 8 and 9

James Lorien MacDonald presents his solo stand-up show, documenting his experience of being a gay, transgender immigrant in Finland. His routine is full of bawdy anecdotes. 

Wolf Safari

Phoenix Brighton, May 4, 6, 8 and 10

This installation enables the audience to look at the city through the eyes of a wolf. A chance to gain a new perspective as well as learn more about the mysterious nocturnal creatures.


The Old Market, Hove, May 28

A circus show that explores male-female relationships through spectacular feats. It’s acrobatics with a message.

For tickets for all of these shows and to see the whole Fringe programme visit brightonfringe.org