Every year we see Warwick absolutely dominating at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, with student-run theatre companies, alumni theatre companies and, of course, student societies performing top quality work to thousands of people over the course of the month. Warwick students have such a huge presence at the Fringe that there was even a lovely little guardian article written about them last year.
Last week I was fortunate enough to spend a day and a half with the student societies who have worked tirelessly to get their productions to the Edinburgh Fringe - Warwick Comedy Society, Music Theatre Warwick (mtw) and Warwick Improvised Theatre Society (WITS). Between them these Warwick SU societies had a total of FIVE productions up at the Fringe. For those of you who aren’t familiar with the Edinburgh Fringe, one show is definitely hard enough to sustain so it is extremely impressive that some of our societies are managing to do two - particularly mtw who took two shows up for the entire month!
I spent my time at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival getting to know the societies and watching their incredible shows, as well as recording a video diary which you can view here:
I so wish I could have seen every student, alumni and society show at the Fringe but there just wasn’t the time to fit them all in. Here are some short reviews of the productions I was lucky enough to see:
The Hero’s Journey (Tricorn Improv - WITS) - performing at Ghilli-Du 1pm - 2pm
Tricorn Improv’s Edinburgh Fringe show is a fast-paced, quirky and hilarious improvised performance packed with adventure. The company were great at interacting with the audience and warmed them up by playing a couple of well-loved improvised story-telling games. When it was time to begin ‘The Hero’s Journey’ the company asked the audience to give suggestions for the title of the story they wanted to see the cast create, as well as the names of the hero and villain of the story. The chosen title was ‘The Hungry Waffle’, and the story’s hero was a man called ‘Millicent’ who recently got a job in a waffle factory after his career as a butcher had to come to an end because of a shortage of bacon - as you can imagine, hilarity ensued. It was clear that the cast have a lot of fun when they’re up on stage performing together and, as a result, the audience had a great time too.
Holmes For Rent (mtw) - performing at C Venues 3.15pm - 4.15pm
Holmes For Rent is an absolutely hilarious new take on the classic story of Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson with appearances from characters such as Mrs. Hudson, Irene Adler and Inspectors Gregson and Lestrade. The production is based on the premise that Sherlock Holmes was in fact an actor called Richard Brooks hired by Watson to be ‘the face’ of his detective work, but Holmes/Brooks ends up left alone to solve the greatest mystery of all - who is Moriarty? With a different ending and Moriarty every night, Holmes For Rent is a fantastic, fast-paced and fun piece of student-written musical theatre which is rich with punchy one-liners and a great score. The entire cast performed to perfection with slick comic timing and incredibly strong vocal performances - however, a special mention must go to Rob Madge who stole the show with his incredibly charismatic portrayal of Sherlock Holmes.
The Improv Musical (mtw) - performing at C Venues 6.15pm - 7.15pm
Ed Fringe Review
I am always full of admiration for people who improvise comedy and theatre but - once singing and dancing is thrown into the mix - my mind is well and truly blown. The Improv Musical begins with the host taking audience suggestions for three vital components: 1) the setting of the musical, 2) a couple of characters they’d like to see, and 3) the title of the first musical number. The cast were everything you would want an Improv Musical cast to be and more: they had fantastic voices, a great sense of humour and could clearly take anything in their stride - including when audience members decided they wanted the genre of particular scene to be “yodelling”. I actually don’t think I stopped laughing throughout the show, which is a real testament to the cast’s sense of pace and comic timing. It’s not difficult to see why the Improv Musical is in its third year at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival and still playing to packed audiences - mtw have created something very special indeed and I hope to see this show at the Fringe for many years to come!
SoLOLoquies (Warwick Comedy Society) - performing at Cannon’s Gait 10.40pm - 11.40pm
SoLOLoquies was Warwick Comedy’s stand-up debut at the Edinburgh Fringe as they usually only take sketch show to the festival. Unfortunately I didn’t get a chance to see the sketch show (Children of the Revuelution) but I heard wonderful things about it - particularly from audience members who had come to SoLOLoquies because they enjoyed it so much! SoLOLoquies has a rotating line-up each night of 5-6 student comedians (with occasional guest appearances from alumni). The night I went, SoLOLoquies was compered by Brogan Thomas, and Joe Bowley, Eric Roy Rushton, Lydia Norris, Joss Bates, Chris Noonan and Mark Holmes were performing. All the performers did a fantastic job and I wouldn’t be surprised to see any one of them playing to packed out audiences at the Apollo in the future - they all deserve to. However, for me personally, Mark Holmes and Joss Bates really stood out as being the ones to watch. SoLOLoquies was my first time watching new comedy in a while and it’s made me really keen to get out and watch more of it - you should too!
It is abundantly clear that we are very fortunate to have a huge amount of talent here at Warwick, and having the opportunity to witness this talent first hand both as a student and now as a Sabb is what sparked my motivation to start organising Warwick’s first ever Fringe Festival. At a time when the arts is continually suffering at the hands of austerity, it is more important than ever that we support our creative students and celebrate the work that they create.
For those of you joining us in October, I would encourage you to get along and try at least one of our many performance societies - you never know where it might take you! If you’re definitely not one for treading the boards, make some time to go and watch the emerging comedic, theatrical, dance and musical talent from Warwick - or join Tech Crew!
All the best,
PS: As for the student and alumni shows I didn’t get the chance to see, I will let the professional critics do the talking!
The Murderer (Clown Funeral - student company)
“...the show is a joy to watch. Staged with a different trio of actors on a rotating basis nightly, the show is ambitious in form. That ambition mirrored in the complexity of the script, and the deftness of the presentation is exciting from a young company. The Murderer is a cleverly conceived show, with an impressive execution that marks Clown Funeral out as a company to watch in the future.”
Lemons, Lemons, Lemons, Lemons, Lemons (Walrus - alumni company)
To Do List
A Younger Theatre
TANK (Breach Theatre - alumni company)
The Scotsman Fringe First Award Winners