Zoe Lyons

Spotlight on Brighton

Why I love the Brighton Fringe

“All the worlds a stage and all the men and women merely players”. That is certainly true of Brighton during the month of May when the curtains are raised on the Brighton Fringe once more. In a city that is always performing, always showing off it is easy to forget that we also play host to the biggest annual arts festival in England.

Hundreds of performers will sell their wares in Brighton for four weeks turning every nook and cranny into temporary theatres to delight an ever growing audience. The sheer variety of shows on offer is amazing from big top circus to a play performed in a toilet, hats off to any actor prepared to strut the boards in a bog!

Being a stand up comedian and therefore a needy show off who has to be looked at all times to feel like I am existing I am fascinated by what makes people take to the stage. Ever since the first cavemen discovered that they could make farty noises with a cupped hand under an armpit we have had a desire to either perform or be entertained.

It is a vital part of what makes us human. To make someone laugh or even cry by telling stories or creating shapes with our bodies. It is such an important primal method of communicating ideas and emotions.

At a time when we spend more and more of our day to day lives in a “virtual” online existence I think we have so much to gain from going out and enjoying some kind of live performance. With out wanting to sound like a proper crystal swinging hippy I really believe that being engaged in a piece of theatre, music even a guided walk helps us to reconnect with each other and our selves.

The Fringe is the perfect time to go and experience something completely different, something you might not ordinarily take time out to see. With so many different shows on offer you might even discover a new passion. Many moons ago a good friend of mine bought me a ticket to go and see a show at the Edinburgh Fringe.

When she told me she was taking me to see a 90 minute piece about Dante’s inferno performed by a Russian physical theatre and dance group I visibly shuddered. Not wanting to seem ungrateful for the ticket I went with her  but she could tell I wasn’t looking forward to it.

I was pretty sure it was going to be the longest one and half hours of my existence. “Don’t be so negative Zoe” my pal said “you might actually like it”. She was wrong, I LOVED IT. It was then and still remains the most astonishing piece of theatre I have ever seen. It blew my tiny mind and I even shed a tear when it finished.

So go, grab the Brighton Fringe with both hands and tuck into a smorgasbord of theatrical delights. There are loads of free shows as well so you don’t even have to make a risky investment. Go see something different, take a punt on a show but more importantly take a pal. You never know, you might just change their lives. ( I know, a very dramatic ending….. and drop curtain.)

Zoe Lyons hosts Bent Double at the Komedia on the first Sunday of the month. Follow Zoe @zoelyons