London Fringe Festival 2010


Written by Sarah Dixon
02 Monday 02nd August 2010

It has always seemed somewhat absurd that each summer half the population of London’s artists, performers, comedians and hacks decamp 400 miles from their studios, theatres and offices to Edinburgh, home of the Edinburgh Fringe.

For 60 years tradition has enabled Edinburgh to be hailed as the top place to see new and up-coming talent each summer. Now some brave individuals have finally realised the potential London has to rival Edinburgh’s fringe crown with the launch of the London Fringe Festival over the month of August.
We spoke to the director of London Fringe Greg Tallent and asked him for his pick of the crop. If you’re thinking of nurturing your inner artist this summer then follow our guide to the best of the festival. Because no-one wants to be stuck in a four hour one-man performance poetry rendition entitled Egocentrics Mumblings from my Inner Psyche if they can avoid it.
To see some comedians before they get mega-famous and start charging £20 a ticket for a twenty minute show, head to the Phoenix Artist Club between August 2 and August 4, hosting the London New Comedy Awards 2010. Over the first two nights twenty comedians will battle it out for a place in the final. Entrants include Dave Gibson who sports a Ron Burgundy-esque drop-handlebar and suit, and hails from Preston.
For something a bit different you could embark on an Unseen Tour from Sock Mob Events. The walks which offer a guided tour around area such as London Bridge, Southwark Cathedral, Shakespeare's Globe, Shoreditch's art gallery core and Hoxton Square, are lead by homeless people who know the streets best.
For a taste of the what the guides will cover Lidija Mavra the event organiser says that the guides will show people around hidden sites of street art, areas established by strong philanthropic women in the nineteenth century, and recently unearthed legacies that are symbolic of how the city's outcast have been treated, to name but a few.
Lidija hopes that the fact that the Unseen Tours have been researched and led by the homeless with their own distinctive life histories and quirky styles gives them an additional twist and authenticity that people may find refreshing and highly entertaining.
To take a glimpse of Unseen London from the streets head to London Bridge, Shoreditch or Old Street station at 7pm Weds–Fri and 4pm on Saturdays and Sundays between August 6 and 30. Look for the homemade cardboard signs.
If comedy sketch shows are more your thing then maybe check out TeakShow's Twisted Sketches at Leicester Square Theatre. The show promises to ‘leave you scarred and breathless and crying for your mum. But in a good way.’ Sounds good to us!
Another highlight will be Zelda, a play about Zelda Fitzgerald – novelist F. Scott Fitzgerald’s flamboyant wife. Their life was is one big party, from the madness of Jazz Age New York to the gin-soaked glamour of the Riviera. When Zelda started writing their marriage and her mind begins to crack up, leading Zelda to an asylum and Scott Fitzgerald to drink. Their daughter Scottie wrote after their deaths: "I think that if people are not crazy, they get themselves out of crazy situations, so I have never been able to buy the notion that it was my father's drinking which led her to the sanatorium. Nor do I think she led him to the drinking." They were both obviously crazy as hell and a really interesting couple on which to base a play.
Finally, on Thursday August 5 London Fringe presents Quick, Before We Come to Our Senses, the Photography & Art Award private view, at 3 Bedfordbury Gallery, which is free and open to members of the public.
The Festival promises to provide London with a great platform for the arts. If you can’t make the trip up to Edinburgh this summer then go and check one of the many shows and events out and support those bringing the dramatic arts back to the capital.
For all event listings head to


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