Brighton Fringe 2021: our preview of shows on Zoom and online

Some of the digital highlights of this year’s Brighton Fringe, running online and via Zoom until 27 June, streaming the festival into your home

Brighton Fringe online theatre

Brighton Fringe is back for 2021. Running from 28 May to 27 June, it has a wide programme ranging from theatre and circus to comedy, cabaret and music. With social distancing still in place until at least 21 June, the festival is going ahead with a mix of live events and online including the digital Living Record Festival. Here we pick out some of the digital theatre highlights, including streaming and on Zoom.

Frédéric Blanchette’s live Zoom show, Giles, is an online comedy about friendship, fantasy and the joy of a Zoom date night. It has been translated from French Canadian and adapted for Zoom by Chris Campbell with Sam Alexander, Chris Campbell and Edith Vernes.
28 May to 27 June

Slap ‘N’ Tickle Theatre Company, which specialises in female narrative-led stories, will be live-streaming their new play, Spit Me Out (Virtually), via Zoom. Meet Laura, Sophie, Mike and Jacob – four young people navigating their sex lives in the 21st century. It looks at the boundaries between sex and violence and how they have influenced the female sexual experience.
3 to 5 June

April Wish’s second solo show, Mommy Monster, is described as a hysterical, affectionate and searing portrait of modern motherhood. Achingly loving and daringly personal, she lays bare the realities of mum rage and examines a mother’s love that is so big, so wild, it burns like the sun. It will be performed live via Zoom.
5 to 6 June

The last hour in the life of Robert the Bruce is imagined in Bruce: Death of a King from theatre company Betzalel & Co. Based on history, it has strong messages for today’s political world, from the power of propaganda to the use of war as a political tool. It will be performed live by Scottish writer Bill Morrison via Zoom.
7 to 13 June

Under Heaven’s Eyes is a solo play that asks if the killing of George Floyd marks a turning point for real change or just another false dawn. Is there a parallel history of structural inequality in Britain that encapsulates and underlines a deep racist mistrust between the Black community and the police? It is performed live via Zoom by actor/playwright Christopher Tajah, artistic director of Resistance Theatre Company.
14 to 27 June

Ram of God
Ram of God

Theodora van der Beek’s show, Ram of God: The Film, portrays a prophet and visionary living with his followers in the British countryside as they look forward to the apocalypse. With influences from 70s horror to cult documentaries, music videos and cereal adverts, it is described as a playful takedown of masculinity and its shadowy cheerleaders which, through the digital medium, joyfully tackles the new possibilities and limitations of presenting theatre on screen.
28 May to 27 June

In Broken Link, four friends from a small town meet every year to remember their closest friend, Ellie, who committed suicide four years ago. It is now 2020 and they have to meet on Zoom – and tonight Ellie joins the call. Created and written by Noga Flaishon and directed by Kitty Ball, this bone-chilling and touching show was created especially to be an engaging and immersive theatre experience online.
28 May to 27 June

We'll Dance on the Ash of the Apocalypse
We’ll Dance on the Ash of the Apocalypse

We’ll Dance on the Ash of the Apocalypse by Australian playwright Melissa-Kelly Franklin tells the story of a couple living in a world ravaged by climate change. They are faced with a terrifying prospect: an unplanned pregnancy. Together they must decide whether they can bring a defenceless child into a seemingly hopeless world.
29 May to 26 June

The Cow Community presents a show with a title that will resonate with many of us: …The F*ck Am I Doing? Created by writer Ali Keller and composer Emily Rose Simons, it is a song cycle about “ageing” millennials who are still trying to find their place, their purpose, or their person.
29 May to 27 June

Marta Carvalho Labyrinth
Labyrinth

Solo show Labyrinth depicts a woman on the edge with a narrative hovering ambiguously at times between murder and vivid fantasy. Written for Marta Carvalho by Galician theatre-maker Moncho Rodriguez, the original Portuguese version has toured Brazil, Portugal and Spain. This new English version by Mark C Hewitt captures the obsessive, capricious nature of the original, losing none of its visceral energy, but adding a subtle layer of dark humour.
28 May to 27 June

In Death and the Dominatrix by Chris Brannick, mature dominatrix Maggie Taylor is surprised when Death turns up in a purple suit with a clipboard. She is forced to confront painful memories to fight off her inevitable destiny in this comedy about love, loss, disappointment and coming to terms with dying, featuring the songs of Annie Lennox and the Eurythmics. Brannick is also presenting a futuristic solo play, Forgive or Forget, about relationships in a world of AI.
28 May to 27 June

Kate Maravan Old House
The Old House

Inspired by her mother, Kate Maravan’s play, The Old House, explores memory, loss, mother-daughter relationships and the hokey cokey. A mother and daughter revisit their old house in a story that gives us an understanding of the potential of dementia to contribute and enrich.
28 May to 27 June

Skye Hallam presents her debut one-woman show, Heads or Tails, an “existential pop culture comedy”. Granted one hour on Earth, Steph uses her time to help the living to learn from the regrets of the dead, reminisce on her life lost and hopefully change the way people see the world, forever.
28 May to 27 June

A show about the psychological impact of isolation sounds very timely right now. Nod At The Fox’s Breaking Up With Reality is an exploration of our “break-up with our past and the new relationship we have with our future”. It combines spoken word, recorded soundscapes and music to create “an audio love letter to Reality”.
28 May to 27 June

MNQUMA Brighton
MNQUMA

MNQUMA by Xolisile Bongwana is a story about a man on a quest to reconnect to his roots and reclaim the legacy of his ancestors. Using Xhosa and Bhaca dance forms as the language, the show features original music compositions by Bongwana, Elvis Sibeko and No-Finish, a traditional Xhosa musician regarded as the master of uhadi music.
28 May to 27 June

In The Wyre Lady of Fleetwood, a man returns to his Lancashire home from his glamorous life of fame and success to a family and community under pressure from the decline of the fishing industry. Written by Lita Doolan, this world premiere features Julie Broadbent, Ian McShee, Bhasker Patel, Jo Phillips-Lane and Mabel Pritchard.
28 May to 27 June

Great Gatsby Wardrobe Ensemble
The Great Gatsby. Photo: Jack Offord

Brighton Fringe offers a chance to catch The Wardrobe Ensemble’s acclaimed two-woman retelling of F Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby. Featuring Tamsin Hurtado Clarke and Jesse Meadows, it is a witty, creative co-production with The Wardrobe Theatre in Bristol, where it was filmed.
28 May – 27 June

#txtshow (on the internet) is a live, interactive show on Zoom where the script is written anonymously in real time by a live audience (limited to 22 at a time). Immersive and “crowd-sourced”, it is created and performed by Brian Feldman.
28 May to 27 June

Click here for our preview of Brighton Fringe shows taking place in venues in front of live audiences.

For more information about dates and tickets, visit brightonfringe.org.

About Mark Ludmon 248 Articles
Mark Ludmon has been a journalist for over 20 years, specialising in theatre as well as hospitality and drinks after starting out on regional daily newspapers. He has an MA in early modern literature and history, focusing on Elizabethan and Jacobean drama, and a theatre studies MA from Royal Central School of Speech & Drama. He has also been on the judging panel for the Olivier Awards. He can be found tweeting as @MarkLudmon and writing about theatre at https://markludmon.com.