Prague Picks - Day 1 - 3
I’m delighted to be at the 18th Prague Fringe Festival this week ( as their Venue Branding and Distribution Manager) , and like any fringe, word of mouth and telling each other what we’ve seen, what we enjoyed, what was wacky and more is the best way to promote shows and generate buzz (aside from many beers in the wee hours of the morning at Fringe Club).
In three days, this is what I’ve seen – what I liked, what maybe wasn’t my cup of tea, and what you can still see before they close! If I had more time, I’d be posting full length reviews, but for now this list will have to do.
Hands down my top pick of the festival – powerful female perspective spoken word on the hypocrisy of different and other, and using our differences to feel unique, borderline hipster. Examining white privilege, the way the Western world reports on crisis and terror, and perspective, Imogen builds a show with the most exquisite pace, with melodic poetry that all will understand and relate to.
So sorry, but your last chance to see it was today, but it is heading to Newcastle this weel and then wraps up its run, having toured since Edinburgh Festival last year.
My god this is a fun show - Three talented guys at Rendered Retina Theatre bring you the grandest retelling of Shakespeare’s least well known play. 18 characters, 18 or so hats, one guitar, and one magical wooden box and an hour of belly laughs. Timon of Athens plays at various times at Divadlo Inspirace until 28 May.
Fringe is never complete for me without an improv show, and The Wimps deliver on this - all the classic games of an improv show, complete with an improvised musical, piano playing and singing, audience members shout suggestions and control the humour on stage, and can even join in on the games! Every night is different and completely improvised. On at Malostranská beseda until 28 May.
Weird, wacky and featuring an extremely large ox puppet, In The Wood Where The Men Work takes justice to the forest. A group of businessmen wake up in a forest for the trial they never saw coming, for their actions around an ambiguous humanitarian and/or climate change crisis. Complete with dance and a capella vocals, this absurdist look at ‘business as usual’ is challenging, beautifully crafted, funny and a little hard to follow, all in one big bundle. On at Malostranská beseda until 30 May.
Quirky French family The Blimps move to an uptight English country town, and chaos ensues in this high energy physical theatre piece. The baby is a monster, and runs rampant through the audience, the comedy is a bit slapstick, and the story line a bit absurd but extremely relatable - come and play with The Blimps at Divadlo Kampa until 28 May.
This show really needs some work, but has the bones of brilliant comedy - David McIver works through one of the hardest moments of his life (without really resolving it or touching on it too much, and I think audiences want to know more), through the guise of playing online World of Warcraft style games. A character comedy about the lengths we will go to escape reality, the audience becomes his guild and we go on ridiculous adventures brought to life by McIver’s vast array of tights he is wearing, a million costumes in one suitcase, and his frantic energy to keep up with the world he has created. I can’t wait to see this show fully rehearsed and realised, as it’s brilliantly funny and really ready for big things. Tonight was his last show at Divadlo Inspirace.
How far into the realm of experimental train of thought theatre about climate change are you willing to travel? True stories, melting ice cubes in the hands of every audience member, aggressive singing, a slick black and white costume and set colour scheme, and snow cones made on stage -
I have never been disappointed at a Doppelgangster show - They’re consistent in pushing boundaries, using verbatim spoken word stories, highlighting key climate change issues, making you think and being a bit wacky - it’s the kind of show that belongs at the heart of Fringe festivals.
Additional highlight - confused tourists buying tickets to the show, asking if it was a comedy, then sitting in the front row. Sorry, you’ve missed it! (also known as, I didn’t post this list in time!). Cold War played at Divadlo Inspirace until 26 May.
Failed 80s diva Yasmine Day boldly attempts to revive her flagging career with an extravaganza concert of 80s power ballads only slightly hampered by cheap karaoke tracks, over-ambitious costume-changes and her own grandiose sense of self. Jay’s comic timing is incredible and her audience interaction is excellent - the show is complete with a low-tech smoke machine of talcum powder and a hand held fan, and a ballad sung to an audience member while their heads are inside a box of crisps - this was the first show I saw at the festival and was the perfect start, I laughed non stop for an hour.
Sadly, this show has closed after three fabulous nights at Divadlo Inspirace, but aren’t you lucky, she’s taking this energetic ball of fun show to Edinburgh Fringe for the full run, and rumour is she’s got some extra treats up her sleeve for it (I’m hearing backing dancers…)
Not my cup of tea
Look, others may love it, it might be for you, but it wasn’t for me.
It might be for you, but it wasn’t for me! A comedy of idiots it’s described as, and it really did feel a bit…stupid in its humour, the show being based on the other not knowing what is going on, but it just pushed the boundaries of my patience. I saw the show on opening night, and maybe there were some nerves or kinks to be worked through (or maybe it seemed that way, because that was the awkwardness of the humour), but trying the ‘Oh no, stop it’ to generate audience applause for nearly three minutes went from funny to awkward to uncomfortable, and a ‘mud’ ritual with some sort of chocolate sauce borders on black face, as they throw a benefit for ‘third world animals’… seeing this show is like being slapped in the face with Fringe theatre, and was just a bit awkward for my taste. My partner enjoyed it more than I did, so make up your own minds!