Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

Frantic on the Fringe

Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

Frantic on the Fringe

Article excerpt

Over 22 days last month the Edinburgh Festival Fringe offered audiences some 1,695 shows to choose from, one of which was ALISON CARR'S Patricia Quinn Saved My Life

I WAS not alone in representing the North East at the largest arts festival in the world. Written in a dining room in Fenham: The Musical! subjected local lads Ashley Frieze and Chris Parr to an ancient Gypsy curse while they were trying to compose the West End's next blockbuster.

The only way for them to break the spell was to write their way out! Undoubtedly an idea with potential, and helped along by some witty songs, Frieze and Parr's enthusiasm was let down only by the fact that their acting abilities left something to be desired.

That Geordie twang could also be heard resonating around Princes Street due to Donna Air's turn in Biographies in a Bag.

The show consisted of three monologues, two per night so who you saw depended on when you went. In a classic case of Sod's Law, the day I turned up was a day Donna didn't, but Rachel Ogilvy and Lynn Ferguson did not disappoint.

Devised by two Durham University students, Shaking Cecelia trapped a neurotic depressive and a manic extrovert in an (actual!) mini and took them on a road trip from Hell. While more could have been made of the Little Britain-esque folk the duo met along the way, good performances made this an enjoyable production and the filmed backdrop was something a bit different.

The region was also providing inspiration for new writing this year, albeit the darkest possible element. In Fanny and Faggot, writer Jack Thorne pulled the audience into the fantasies of two dangerously-bored 10-year-olds.

Innocent games gradually took a chilling turn as the girls' thoughts moved to what it would be like to kill someone. This alone was provocative stuff, but Thorne interweaved the story of these girls with that of the notorious Mary and Norma Bell, bringing in the 1968 trial through actual court accounts and findings.

As the girls, Elicia Daly and Sheena Irving gave astonishing performances, and being confined with those disturbing children is an experience I won't soon forget. …

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