Quick Q&A: Delusions and Grandeur

Where and when: The Hen and Chickens Theatre Bar, as part of Camden Fringe on August 17th and 18th at 6pm and August 20th and 21st at 3pm.

What it’s all about… A classically trained cellist, an improv trained comedian, and a seasoned performer, Karen Hall fuses her artforms together into a must-see, one-woman show contemplating perfectionism, expectations, mastery, and failure. After years in the pit, the symphony, and the background in some of the biggest venues in the United States, Karen and her cello take centre stage for this idiot meets artistry, clown-fused recital you don’t want to miss.

You’ll like it if… You enjoy classical cello music, you’ve ever wondered if what you’re doing in life is worth it, and you don’t mind a little audience interaction.

You should see it because… Karen gives you complete permission to see and be seen as she skilfully guides you into spaces of pathos, mastery, and insanity. Plus how many opportunities are there in life to see a one-woman clown cello show?

Anything else we should know…: Karen has been featured on the TV show Glee, Emmy nominated soundtracks, and has played on stages from Carnegie Hall to the Hollywood Bowl – all with/for other people. This is her first tour under her own name after over a decade of success in the Los Angeles music industry.

Where to follow:
Instagram: @inforthelonghall

Ticket link: https://camden.ssboxoffice.com/events/delusions-and-grandeur/

Quick Q&A: The Trial

Where and when: Pleasance Courtyard (Beyond) at 15:00, 5th-14th August

What it’s all about… Young Pleasance’s show this year is a new stage adaptation of Kafka’s novel The Trial. Whilst staying true to his original vision, we have set the plot within a highly contemporary world: Joseph K is a 21-year-old Art History student who has come from Eastern Europe to study in London in 2020. At his surprise 21st birthday party, things go disastrously wrong. Joseph has been ‘arrested’ and is in a coma in a teaching hospital; there we discover that he is the sole patient on a secret government medical trial and we follow his unconscious mind through a labyrinth of dead ends, misunderstandings and bizarre dream-like situations. Guilt follows and surrounds him, but the truth eventually unfolds as Joseph begins to come to terms with who he is, as reality and fantasy collide. The thirty-strong, young cast play over 60 roles, leading the audience through a fast-paced, visually stunning exploration of Joseph’s life, and mind. The expressionist production wraps around naturalistic performances, which we hope will result in a uniquely funny, sometimes absurd and ultimately moving story of self-discovery and growing up.

You’ll like it if… We think this piece will be very relevant to any older teenager or young adult, as the story follows 17-21-year-olds, discovering university for the first time and working out who they are or want to be. However, we always aim to appeal to a very wide audience. Young Pleasance has built up a level of trust with our audiences over a long period and they know that they will always be entertained with a combination of the dramatic, thought-provoking and comic, offering some of the highest production values on the fringe.

You should see it because… It is for anyone who wants to see a visually interesting, fast-paced, layered theatre production! We truly aim to keep our audience gripped through our adventurous, imaginative story-telling, and to have them questioning and keep them guessing as the story unfolds. We also hope that the struggles of our protagonist, the resolutions we propose, and the strong visual images within the piece will resonate long after someone has left the theatre.

Anything else we should know…: It is Young Pleasance’s 25th year at the Fringe this summer (!) and we are very excited to be taking up The Trial as a celebration of this. We also can’t wait to be heading back to Edinburgh after everyone’s time away – we look forward to spending our August back in Pleasance Courtyard.

Where to follow:
Twitter: @YoungPleasance
Instagram: @YoungPleasance
Facebook: @YoungPleasance

Ticket link: https://www.pleasance.co.uk/event/trial#overview

Quick Q&A: Sandcastles

Where and when: Assembly Rooms, 4th-27th August, 12.50-1.50pm

What it’s all about… Sandcastles by Steve McMahon moves back and forth in time and memory to depict the tumultuous lifelong friendship of millennials Hannah and Beth. Beth is moving to New York. Hannah should be happy for her. When Beth goes missing Hannah can’t reconcile how she reacted with the fact that Beth might be gone. Sandcastles is an exploration of grief, millennial angst, friendship and growing up; a bold piece of storytelling that will stay with you for a long time. Assembly ART Award (2022) winning piece from fringe favourites Brite Theater (Deliverance, (Can This Be) Home, Richard III (a one-person show)).

You’ll like it if… You like bold new writing with a focus on female characters.

You should see it because… We won the Assembly Festival ART Award 2022 for this show.

Where to follow:
Twitter: @stevemcmahon13, @BriteTheater
Instagram: @britetheater
Facebook: @britetheater

Ticket link: https://assemblyfestival.com/whats-on/sandcastles

Quick Q&A: Rapsody

Where and when: Pleasance Courtyard (Above) at 17:20, 3rd-29th August

What it’s all about… Join Elz, Jams, Toni and latest arrival Jaime, as they confront the realities of our modern-day class system through live rap, trap and drill. Living in a hostel and battling impossible odds from the beginning, their worlds are upended by the arrival of a newcomer from a privileged background, with deeply held religious beliefs. As the dynamics of the hostel shift, all four struggle to get by, rapping the things they can’t bring themselves to say.

You’ll like it if… The idea with Rapsody is to bring in a different audience than the typical theatre goers. Although I’m sure they’ll be all there anyways, hopefully we can educate them about a class of people that are heavily underrepresented in the theatre scene and they can appreciate what a group of working class young artists can do. But we really want to break some new ground with this project, Rapsody speaks the same language as the ignored children of the UK. I believe it’ll resonate with working class kids like myself, hopefully when they see us spitting bars and speaking like we speak, we can lead by example and give disadvantaged kids the permission to feel part of the conversation in the arts. And to show them it’s not just completely dominated by the middle classes.

You should see it because… Everybody should come and see Rapsody. People should be taking notes about the day-to-day living of the poorest young people in this country, this play will be eye-opening for everybody who gets a ticket. I can’t say how audiences are going to feel but we want them to take away the lives of the four characters in the play and make what they want of that. As long as we do our job as actors, writers and directors. It’s up to them what they choose to take away.

Anything else we should know…: I’d just like to say that we’ve spent the best part of two years developing the writing of this project. It all comes from a place of hunger and authenticity, it’s not another poverty project written by a middle-class man who wants to fetishise the working classes. Corey Weekes and I are from very similar backgrounds as the characters depicted in the show. We know this world inside out and I’m personally sick of seeing stereotypes depicted in theatre so hopefully, Rapsody can help change that narrative.

Where to follow:
Twitter: @RapsodyThePlay, @thepleasance
Instagram: @Rapsodytheplay, @thepleasance
Facebook: @thepleasance

Ticket link: https://www.pleasance.co.uk/event/rapsody#overview

Quick Q&A: Oedipus Electronica

Where and when: Pleasance Courtyard (Forth) at 15:30, 3rd-26th August

What it’s all about… Oedipus Electronica is about the loss of a child, and the transformation that can occur through creativity. The myth is told through Jocasta’s eyes. Jocasta is a writer struggling to process the news that she will never be a mother. She exorcises her demons through writing a savage, contemporary adaptation of the Oedipus myth.

You’ll like it if… you want to see a SHOW. It’s a full-on, powerhouse production for audiences who want to be shaken to the core and taken on a rollercoaster ride through ecstasy and devastation. Black audiences who want to see themselves represented, female audiences who want to see their wants and desires expressed unapologetically. Audiences who will relish seeing sex, drugs and live Electronica on stage.

You should see it because… Anyone who knows what it is to struggle (i.e. to be human) and likes their theatre strong.

Anything else we should know…: The audience will take away the redemptive power of creativity. The show is full of triggers, flashing lights, smoke and swearing. You’ve been warned!

Where to follow:
Twitter: @pecho_mama
Instagram: @pecho_mama
Facebook: @pechomama

Ticket link: https://www.pleasance.co.uk/event/oedipus-electronica#overview