Thursday, 27 August 2015

48 Hours of Fringe

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48 Hours of Fringe
Edinburgh Fringe
Hannah Morpeth & Beth Allison
Monday 24th August

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There aren't many places where you will see Shakespeare reincarnated as an unhinged 21st century woman; have the opportunity to flashmob unsuspecting diners at Pizza Express; and witness what can only be described as plugged-in, partying ballet.

To quote 10x10x10's final performer "being on stage makes you a God" - they have the power to make an audience laugh, cry and believe all within a few minutes if they wish. Open Clasp Theatre's Key Change throws the audience into life in a female prison and their quests to feel safe whilst trapped in lives of domestic violence, fear and poverty. It is a vicious circle. The four women serving prison sentences have ended up inside because of a chain of events started by the witting or unwitting actions of others. A man beats his wife, physically and mentally, way past the point of breaking; a young girl struggles with the ghosts of her past, is offered drugs, and enters a destructive relationship with them that she cannot escape. Key Change is a harrowing portrayal of exploitation at its most extreme.

Despite only being 21 ourselves, we're getting ever more detached from the experiences of today's teenagers. Everyone is quick to tell youngsters that their school years are the best years of their lives: Broken Windows challenges that. Are we really teaching young girls that the biggest display of strength and success you can possibly exhibit is an eating disorder? Are we giving the message that the celebrity whose "perfect life" constantly clogs up your continuously refreshed Instagram feed is the best role model you can find? When objectified in the street, is the best response really 'thank you' rather than 'fuck you'? Not to mention the race to lose your virginity and the fact that 'you've lost weight' is the biggest compliment. Maybe it's the most important lessons that we're forgetting to teach young girls. That their worth is not defined by their number of followers, the dress sizes they are able to drop or a constant flow of male attention. If only “there was some sort of armour that could protect us from the bullshit.”

That's enough of the doom and gloom! Since the 2011 release of Friends with Benefits we've had this fantasy of either joining a flashmob or someone arranging it for us. On Sunday, it finally happened! We were let lose into a flashmob organised by Guru Dudu - what a fella. We waltzed (we use the term loosely), broke free from our dignity and brought Uptown Funk to the cobbles.

Do you ever see a show and think, where the hell did the idea for that come from? Enter Mrs Shakespeare, a one woman show of Shakespeare reincarnated 400 years later as a woman - because coming back as a "baldy old man with a goatee" would be too obvious. It came as no surprise to learn that William was undergoing psychiatric evaluation whilst working on his/her new 'modernised' masterpieces: Hitler the First, and a rewrite of Hamlet to be titled Ophelia.

Now for people who can really dance. Balletronic was pure strength and elegance wrapped up in an electric musical atmosphere. The fusion of modern dance and ballet was honestly like nothing we have ever seen before. Both male and female were in complete ownership of the dance space; the fantastic orchestra played with such passion that their instruments broke (literally - the bow strings of the lead violinist were crying in protest). Balletronic was a beautiful reminder that that dance has the ability to tell stories, and take you on an emotional rollercoaster.

All in all, a brilliant 48 hours spent in fantastic company. Edinburgh Fringe is the most crazy, eclectic, unique, reality suspended of events . Where else would you find yourself (the most sparkly woman sitting on a bale of hay) in a cowshed at 2am, listening to some pretty awesome live music?



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