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Tuesday 05 March 2019

From Dead Dog In A Suitcase To Spymonkey - Here Are Brighton Festival 2019 Theatre Highlights

For three weeks this May Brighton Festival will be showcasing & celebrating the very best & most unique in theatre. Here are some of the highlights ..

Photo credit Niall McDiarmid

What the hell is the world coming to? Mayor Goodman has been assassinated. And so has his dog. Contract killer Macheath has just married Pretty Polly Peachum and Mr and Mrs Peachum aren't happy. Not one bit. Kneehigh are back with their theatrical tour-de-force, Dead Dog in a Suitcase (and other love songs). Based on John Gay's The Beggar's Opera, Kneehigh's wild reinvention of this classical musical satire is bursting with wit, wonder and weirdness. Kneehigh's extraordinary cast of actor musicians shoot, hoot and shimmy their way through this twisted morality tale for our times.

Wed 8 – Sat 11 May, 8pm Thu 9 & Sat 11, 2.30pm Theatre Royal Brighton Thu 9 May, 2.30pm £10, £12.50, £15, £20  Wed 8 & Thu 9 May, 8pm & Sat 11 May, 2.30pm £12.50, £15, £20,  £24  Under 26 £15  Fri 10 - Sat 11 May, 8pm £15, £17.50, £22, £27.50, Under 26 £17.50  Thu 9 May, 2.30pm  Schools price £10, Under 26 £10.

Captioned performance Thu 9 May, 8pm Audio described Fri 10 May, 8pm.

The local am-dram society is under pressure to comply with the equalities agenda so they plan to create a gripping show starring "the disabled". What could be better than the Oscar-winning "My Left Foot"? The only snag? Well, they don't have any disabled actors – but that never stopped Daniel Day-Lewis! In the world of amateur theatre, winning the one-act festival isn"t a matter of life and death – it"s much more important. Throw out political correctness, throw in a love triangle, and all the drama happens behind the curtains. After sell out success at the 2018 Edinburgh Fringe, My Left Right Foot makes its maiden visit to Brighton Festival. Irreverent, uplifting and provocative, it is a must-see for lovers of humorous musicals.

Tues 14 May - Sat 18 May, 7.30pm Theatre Royal Brighton Tue 14 – Thu 16 May, 7.30pm: £12.50, £15, £18.50, £22.50, Under 26 £15 Fri 17 & Sat 18 May, 7.30pm: £15, £17.50, £20, £25, Under 26 £17.50

With their small inheritance stitched into their clothes, two children set off on an epic journey across Europe – orphaned brothers on a desperate odyssey to freedom and safety. In Jamie Harrison's and Candice Edmund's unique staging, Flight combines unsettling themes with spellbinding images. Mixing graphic novel with exquisite diorama, it is a story of hope and survival that draws you into its fragile miniature world, compelling you to contemplate the terror of children adrift in dangerous lands. Its critically acclaimed run in New York had the New York Times hailing it as 'exquisite and intensely affecting'. Don't miss this Brighton Festival run.

Age 14+ Sat 4 – Thu 22 May 8 shows Tue – Fri, 12 Shows Sat & Sun See for times King Alfred Leisure Centre £12.50

Performance artist Jaamil Olawale Kosoko conjours themes of paranormal activity, loss and resurrection as he explores black identities through his work. Hailing from Detroit, Michigan, Kosoko draws on his own experiences, including the deaths of family members, as well as inspiration from other art forms in a piece that brings together movement, song, spoken word and a live score from Bessie award-winning composer Jeremy Toussaint-Baptiste.

Thu 16 May & Fri 17 May, 8pm Attenborough Centre for the Creative Arts £12.50, Under 26 £10,

Sasha Clayton"s 24 and living with her mum, step-dad, and irritating little sister in Plaistow. She's gone from being the most popular girl at school, to spending most of her time on her own in her bedroom scrolling through social media. She may not have a job or a flat, and, admittedly her boyfriend"s not answering her calls; but she's got talent and a dream – when she releases her first EP everything's going to change. Superhoe is Nicôle Lecky"s Royal Court writing and performing debut and is the first collaboration between Talawa Theatre Company and the Royal Court Theatre.

Sun 19 May, 4.30pm & 8pm Mon 20 & Tue 21 May, 8pm Attenborough Centre for the Creative Arts £15

As Brighton's Spymonkey celebrate its 20th anniversary, don't miss the opportunity to catch the show which made them an international comedy sensation. Cooped, a deliciously demented take on the pulp gothic romance – think Hitchcock"s Rebecca meets The Pink Panther – replete with brilliant characters,  rip-roaring farce and virtuoso physical comedy. Beautiful, fawn-like Laura du Lay arrives in the heart of darkest Northumberlandshirehampton to work for the reclusive Forbes Murdston, but there are unsettling rumours that surround her new boss and his ominous manservant Klaus. A spooky mansion, a plucky young heroine and a handsome English aristocrat. Add a German butler and a Spanish soap star and you're...COOPED with Spymonkey!

Wed 22 - Sat 25 May, 7.30pm Sat 25 - Sun 26 May, 2.30pm Pavilion Theatre, Worthing £12.50 - £25

Based on the true story of possibly the most successful art forger in the world, BERLIN uses its genre-curious style to expose the hypocrisy of the art world. When police tracked down Geert Jan Jansen (and more than 1,600 forged works of Picasso, Dalí, Matisse and Hockney) they put a stop to a 20-year career which fooled the art world. Inspired by his story, True Copy explores the constant balancing act required to keep fiction and reality seamless in order to preserve one man"s life – and his deceit of the entire art world. What is the truth, and when does it matter, when a fakery is just as accomplished as the real thing? When is it better to play along with an elaborate lie that diverts from the truth? 

Thu 23 May – Sun 26 May, 8pm Attenborough Centre for the Creative Arts £15, Under 26 £12.50 Festival Standby £10 (see p75)

What do we feel, what do we show, what do you see? We all have ideas of what makes a man, and we're throwing ourselves headfirst into exploring this question. Celebrating male tenderness, silliness, vulnerability and community with a cast of young men of colour from England, BOYS gives us a window to share their experiences, their hopes, families and globe-spanning heritage. In their stories, brought alive by a "slick and impressive" (The Reviews Hub) physical performance, you will see reflections of your brothers, friends, parents and lovers. Unscripted, with each story uniquely told in every performance, BOYS is a joyful and tender dance that hopes to unravel preconceptions and uncover the endless possibilities that can make up a man.

Sat 25 May, 7.30pm Sat 25 & Sun 26 May, 7.30pm Sun 26 May 2.30pm The Old Market £12.50

Shakespeare's magic-filled comedy, A Midsummer Night"s Dream is performed in the open air by The Lord Chamberlain's Men, the UK"s premiere all male theatre company, to celebrate its 15th year. Bring a chair or a rug to enjoy a glorious evening watching one of Shakespeare"s best-loved plays. Experience this enchanting performance, overflowing with Elizabethan costumes, fairies, sprites, dukes, confused lovers, music and dance.

Sat 25 May, 12.45pm (see p73) Thu 23 – Sat 25 May, 6.30pm Fri 24 & Sat 25 May, 1.30pm Schools Matinee - Fri 24 May, 1.30pm St. Nicholas Rest Garden. 

The internationally renowned circus company, Gravity and Other Myths, takes the concept and perception of strength and (literally) tosses it into the air. In this "dazzling and warm hearted" performance (The Independent), individual and collective resilience is tested as the company tumble, backflip and walk across each other's heads – Backbone explores the limits of emotional and physical endurance. Winner of the Australian Dance Award (2018) for Outstanding Achievement in Physical Theatre, this is a raw showcase of human ability and connection. With a powerful live soundtrack and stunning lighting design, expect "a genre-defying, thought-provoking, visual extravaganza…so intensely beautiful it makes you proud to be human."(InDaily)

Wed 15 – Fri 17 May, 7.30pm Brighton Dome Concert Hall £15, £17.50, £20, £22.50 Under 16 Half Price (top two prices)

Poland's Teatr Biuro Podrozy make their Brighton debut with this extraordinary large-scale spectacle, a moving insight into the lives of ordinary citizens trapped by war. Enduring constant incursions, endless humiliations and the ever-present threat of violence, we see the occupants of a city that could be anywhere and that feels very familiar from our daily news cycle. Under threat by soldiers roaring through their lives on motorbikes, intimidated by the extraordinary menace of flaming stilt walkers burning all before them, Teatr Biuro Podrozy use light, sound and pyrotechnics to conjure the visceral reality of war. However, this dystopian tale is also a moving celebration of the resilience of communities and their extraordinary capacity for survival. To a soundtrack of plaintive cello and metallic riffs, this brave and experimental company once again remind us how fragile and yet how strong we are in the face of adversity.

Wed 22 May – Sat 25 May, 8.30pm & 10pm Black Rock £15, Under 26 £12.50 

Brighton Festival 2019 runs from 4-26 May 2019. CLICK HERE for info.

by: Mike Cobley

Related links

Brighton Festival 2019


Credit Tommy Ga-Ken Wan

As Frankenstein arrives at Theatre Royal Brighton for a week of performances, Rona Munro discusses (below) her new adaptation of Mary Shelley's Gothic masterpiece which places the writer herself (depicted by Eilidh Loan) amongst the action, as she wrestles with her creation and with the stark realities facing revolutionary young women, then and now.

The University of Brighton will launch Brighton CCA, the first major new contemporary arts gallery in the city for twenty years, on Saturday 19 October 2019. 
Credit Helen Murray

It is the part that restarted Laurence Olivier's career. Corin Redgrave performed it late on in life. Michael Gambon did so on screen. Three years ago, Kenneth Branagh took it on in the West End. Now, this autumn, it's Shane Richie's turn ..

Accidents, heartbreak and a career curse plagued Brighton-duo Blood Red Shoes on the road to their new LP, the appropriately and knowingly-titled, Get Tragic. 

Charly Bliss, the American four-piece band - who have traded their brash punk persona for a more thoughtful pop sound - make a welcome return Brighton, following a well received appearance at the city's Great Escape Festival, back in May.
Credit Steve Ullathorne

For more than twenty-five years the London-born ventriloquist Paul Zerdin has been wowing audiences across the globe with his cheeky brand of stand-up puppetry, and his 'sponge family' – including peppy tween Sam, demanding newborn Baby and old man Albert – have becomes stars themselves. 

Last Saturday's Live at Brighton Dome gathering of top comedians and attendant comedy affectionados was one where the support bill was pitting its accumulated talents against the anticipation building for headliner, Nina Conti.

You will have seen Henry Paker's name whizz by as a writer on the credits of a huge variety of comedy shows, from Michael McIntyre's Big Show, Eight Out Of Ten Cats, and Mock The Week all the way to Comic Relief and Top Gear. 

From 7th October 2019, activists from Brighton and Hove will travel to London to take part in what is expected to be the biggest act of non-violent civil disobedience in history – as Extinction Rebellion starts its next International Rebellion, which will last up to two weeks.
Carleen Jackson

Brighton-based Carlene Jackson saw the potential of cloud technology early and went on to build a thriving consultancy business with twenty staff. Below she talks about partnering with Microsoft, staff and apprenticeships and how a 'learning difficulty' has made her a better entrepreneur. 
Credit Pooneh Ghana

Having just got off the road from supporting Pixies, The Big Moon will be heading to Brighton, early next year, in support of new album, Walking Like We Do.

South African choreographer Dada Masilo's Giselle - which plays at Brighton Dome, this October - brings the ballet into the 21st century. The Soweto-born choreographer and dancer has taken the classic favourite and thoroughly shaken it up so audiences can anticipate the unexpected.

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