The Buxton Festival Fringe has signed up no fewer than 170 acts for this year’s extravaganza and is now in full swing in the town.
This year even more artists are appearing from afar and there is a mix of established favourites and exciting newcomers.
In Laughrica, African comedian Daliso Chapondo claims that ‘Westerners are insane but to be perfectly honest Africans are even crazier’, Africa Entsha – five boys from Soweto – bring inspirational harmonies and fabulous dance in Golden Voices of the Township, and there is a return of regular visitor, soprano Margaret Ferguson, Africa’s Lady of Song.
The Fringe welcomes two performers from Brazil – pianist Emma Souza Lima offers a rare opportunity to hear both traditional European classical composers and modern music from Brazil, while Palabras Latinas story-teller Anamaria Lines and Midlands/Mexican troubadour Mike Payton promise a mesmerising blend of story, music and dance in Souvenirs.
Sparkling French company La Petite Famille explore love and friendship in the musical Tomorrow’s Dawn, and there is also a Touch of the Dutch – singer-songwriters Elrieke and Poldy come from Holland.
The Fringe is also a great platform for local performers and this year Harpur Hill School joins the Fringe for the first time with an evening of fun-filled family entertainment by the students and staff in Lionel Bart’s musical Oliver! The school’s choir and brass and are also appearing alongside Tideswell Male Voice Choir at St John’s Church.
The REC Youth Theatre Company have two plays, Red Red Shoes and Pan-O-Rama, a Peter Pan/Harry Potter/Lord Of The Flies mash-up comedy for all the family by local playwright Tom Crawshaw, and Kaleidoscope Fringe Company face a 2038 Problem.
In Music, Buxton trio Nine Feet North will be playing Crosby, Stills and Nash’s seminal first album in full, and more local bands such as Fuzzy Felt World and Arkham Travers will be appearing.
Once again in 2013 there is a great comedy cohort, many of them bound for Edinburgh.
Double Fringe award winners Max and Ivan return, as does another of last year’s winners, Helen Arney, in – Voice of an Angle and Domestic Science with Rob Wells.
New to the Fringe is Boris Nicoli KGB Mind-Reader with Hammered and Tickled. Since the Cold War ended, Boris, the last vestige of the KGB Psychic Counter-intelligence unit has had to go into the entertainment business and he arrives in the UK with only an entertainment visa and his fake mind reading experiments.
As always theatre will play a big part in the festival and 2012 award winners Smooth Faced Gentlemen present an all-female Titus Andronicus, quite a contrast to their hugely successful Romeo and Juliet.
Butterfly bring Hamlet to Poole’s Cavern which is sure to be a big draw, and Little Red Hen Theatre Co promise An Evening with Charlotte Bronte.
Arletty Theatre with the help of the folk of Nottinghamshire has created a moving and funny play, incorporating the memories of a community.
Patchwork Lives takes the conjoined traditions of crafting and storytelling to another level, transforming personal stories in to a magical theatrical event.
It has been written by Imogen Joyce with music by Matt Marks and involves the memories of inspirational women being gathered, stitched into a quilt and then made into the play.
The Uproot Theatre Company, makers of the 2012 hit The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll, are presenting Around The World In 80 Days.
In another great year for music, there is American bluegrass music from Aprille and the Shower, traditional fiddle and flute by Kerry Hunter and Sam Partridge, and music on the roof of the Pump Room – relax on the slopes and enjoy. There is also classic music from High Peak Orchestra, Partita and the Cantibus Choral Ensemble.
In visual arts, Buxton Art Trail are taking over Pavilion Gardens for Art in the Park and on the Railings; The Great Dome Art Fair takes place in the home of Fringe sponsor, The University of Derby Buxton and there are solo shows from Suzanne Pearson and Louise Jannetta plus a trio of exhibitions in Buxton Museum and Art Gallery – not to mention Stone and Water’s prehistoric landscapes rendered in crochet and felt!
And if that isn’t enough, there’s the Buxton Military Tattoo, Buxton Film’s short film competition Open Shorts, and tours around the town on the Wonder of the Peak, Buxton’s ‘Victorian’ tram.
“We are delighted with the variety of events on offer,” said chairman of the Fringe, Stephanie Billen.
“It’s wonderful to see the mix of local, national and international acts at Buxton Festival Fringe.”
There is a full programme available and the 2013 line-up is on the website http://www.buxtonfringe.org.uk
For reviews of the shows which have already been staged go to http://bit.ly/14LYAv2