Prague Picks - Day 7 -9
And somehow here we are, the dust has settled, I am back in the UK and Prague Fringe 2019 is over!
What a stunning city and an incredible festival - the boutique festival of only 52 shows and 7 venues has a wonderful connected and family feel, so you had a chance to know what was on and get to know people. Until next year, here are the final shows that I saw at the festival, that I liked, didn’t like, and that you should keep your eyes out for i the future.
The only comedian I needed this Fringe Festival - self depricating, intelligent strong female comedy from PhD candidate Isa - Isa is obsessed with outer space, and she spent twenty years trying to become an astronaut. Using a planetarium projector she took us on a tour of the cosmos and her broken dreams. She’s one of the most highly accoladed comedians I’ve come across, being a 2018 BBC New Comedy Award finalist, a 2018 London Comedy Store King Gong winner and even more - keep an eye on this one, because soon she’ll be touring the world with her unique, intelligent brand of comedy.
You’ll recognise Chloe Young from The Klump Company as well as the bright smiling faces of Heather and Harry, a genre-blending, gender-bending love story told by Lecoq-trained clowns. Chloe and Grace of Stumble Trip Theatre have a delightful show on their hands, with raps about Zeus, mime, dance, sequins, and the incredible and playful piano accompaniment of Laila Woozeer, the show is full of heart and belly laughs. Plus Heather and Harry were spotted all over Prague, hosting The Fringey Awards and a function at the British Embassy, leaving a trail of silly delight in their wake.
Such a gorgeous way to top of your night at Fringe was to relax to the rich jazz sounds of Cat Loud’s Torch Songs - a perfect night cap with a drink from the Fringe bar to rev up for Fringe Club or to wind down, the show was full of famous torch songs by Billie Holiday, Ella Fitzgerald and more. Accompanied by the brilliant Fraser last name forgotten, who also played piano for Johnny! in Boheme, the talent that flows from the room is incredible.
Munchausen, Mayhem and Murder - Proxy was a dark one women show about the complexities and multiple view points trying to solve the mystery of Munchausen by Proxy, a mental health problem in which a caregiver makes up or causes an illness or injury in a person under his or her care, such as a child, an elderly adult, or a person who has a disability. Caroline Burns Cooke’s first solo show won the Performance Award for outstanding individual performance at Prague Fringe last year, and this show is equally emotional and impressive, but could probably use a little bit more work in terms of differentiating characters and settings. Her work with character and accents was impressive.
Tay is a poet torn with her identity and her place in the world. Confused and fed up she heads hame for a night out where she begins a journey of self-discovery. Another Scottish spoken word artist accompanied by a guitarist, maybe it was because I’d already been blown away by Imogen Stirling, or maybe because I was extremely tired from being the Venue Branding Manager at Prague Fringe, and it was a nice warm room with soothing guitar and I may have tried not to rest my eyes…. I wasn’t blown away by this show. My partner really liked it, but he’d already taken his nap in a Fringe Festival show earlier in the evening. This show is lovely without being life changing - it’s a little bit entitled millenial-y, a little bit whingy, but also explores the theme of belonging, self discovery, and self imposed diaspora after moving away, going to uni in another town or leaving your home town, which is something I really relate to. But this is a preview performance, and I look forward to seeing where the show goes in the future.
Running to Saint Sebastian
Sadly, this show really wasn’t for me. A poetic style self reflection on a queer misfit who finds himself working at a church, it explores themes of acceptance, salvation, and the queer narrative. It’s a strongly worded show - the first few moments discuss how he wanted to rub his genitals over the statue of San Sebastian (and more), so it was not a show for under 14 years old. It just wasn’t particularly clear where we were, what the message or drive of the show was, and sadly it played to a mostly empty audience most nights. John Arthur Sweet is a passionate performer and writer and I hope he gets the opportunity to further develop the show.
And, it was so good, I went to see Johnny in Boheme again! The show was just as good a second time.
For now, the gorgeous Prague Fringe is done, see you next year!