This blog shows my interactions with London Fringe Theatres in which I believed I viewed how the city’s creative and enterprising young, experimental and resilient artists defined their performance styles. After six years in London, I have returned home to Australia where I continue to research and refine my responses on what I’ve come to understand about London Fringe Theatre.
As a theatre historian, I view such an outpouring of creativity as an opportunity to explore how engaging with live performances, either as artists and audiences, are vital for the development of human cognition. Homo sapiens is our essential identity.
Without this understanding, we can only endlessly discuss the ‘cultural benefits’ of theatre in society. Professor Bruce McConachie plea in Theatre and Mind (2013) is for us to explore the cognitive foundations of theatrical performance.
Without a discursive network of committed authors and readers, no cultural communication about our mutual fascination with the theatre is possible. And because networks always afford different possibilities for meaning, I believe it is time for us to put aside past prejudices and paradigms to investigate together the evolutionary and cognitive foundations of performance.
Our reviewer Josey takes eight-year-old Henry to Told By An Idiot’s latest production, a collaborative adventure-cum-panto-cum-circus show, with a giant egg sandwich thrown in. Marketing itself as “this year’s alternative Christmas treat”, Told by an Idiot’s Get Happy is positioned to achieve a distinctive style of children’s theatre. Having experienced the show with my co-reviewer Henry (aged…Details
Our reviewer takes Alannah (aged ten) and James (five) to a new version of The Jungle Book, with wonderful wild animals and a pretty convincing jungle for above a pub. At the Lion and Unicorn Theatre. The Lion and Unicorn Theatre in Kentish Town is currently showing an all-new adventure inspired by Rudyard Kipling’s The Jungle…Details
Nation Painting: Namatjira at the Southbank Centre This play, which tells the story of Albert Namatjira, the first indigenous Australian painter to win international acclaim, premiered in Alice Springs in late 2009 and has since toured Australia. Now this fascinating story comes to London. At the Southbank Centre. The production at the Southbank Centre of Namatjira by the Australian theatre company, Big…Details
A Walk in the Woods on Shaftesbury Avenue: The Gruffalo at the Lyric Theatre Julia Donaldson’s story about a little mouse on an epic journey returns to the West End stage, with lively performances all round. Eight-year-old Henry helps our reviewer dish out the stars for this recommended Christmas treat for young families. At the Lyric Theatre.…Details
Indigeneity in the Contemporary World: Masi Maidens at the Bargehouse Theatre historian Josey de Rossi, who has studied the effects of European cultural imperialism on indigenous art forms, guides us through some of the themes raised by this unusual cross-arts project. At the Bargehouse. I arrive at the Bargehouse sufficiently early to view the four floors of…Details
Mario Pirovano’s welcomes the audience to his one-man performance of Francis, the Holy Jester like a politician on the hustings. Launching the show with the promise of overturning centuries of misconceptions, he springs into the story of Francis, emphasizing that the real stories of the thirteenth century Italian saint are uniquely wonderful because they show…Details