Since it first started in 2006 at the Etcetera Theatre, the Camden Fringe has exploded in size – like the Incredible Hulk let lose on the protein-shake cupboard.
The 2016 Camden Fringe programme (1-28 August) features more than 250 productions across 25 venues. To help you choose what to see, we’ve picked our top five theatre shows not to miss:
Cockroaches at The Cockpit (23-24 August)
Cockroaches is a brand new production of Mikhail Bulgakov’s Flight. Banned in 1928, the play eventually premiered 29 years later but was heavily censored. Now, for the first time ever on a London stage, Ukrainian director Anastasiya Sosis presents a new translation of Bulgakov’s uncensored original. Set in the Russian Civil War in the early 1920s, the story follows five refugees fleeing the Soviet regime. A tender tragedy that’s a timely addition to the Fringe’s line-up.
Sellotape Sisters at Tristan Bates Theatre (15-20 August)
Signal Theatre presents the world premiere of Lee Mattison’s new play, Sellotape Sisters. Blending the pretentions of Downton Abbey with the production values of Crossroads, 1966 soap opera Sellotape Sisters is rapidly becoming unstuck. In fact, it’s being cancelled. For its last episode, the writers delve into the actors’ real-life dramas in search of story lines. As a former Coronation Street storyliner, Mattison is the perfect writer for this soft-hearted and outrageous new comedy.
When Gwyneth Paltrow and Chris Martin ended their showbiz marriage, they didn’t announce a break-up but rather a ‘conscious uncoupling’. In this show, comedian and BBC Radio 4 regular Rosie Wilby considers how we do break-ups in a modern world – using break-up emails, comedy and a few Richard Hawley tunes. Uproariously funny and sweetly painful to watch.
Dark Vanilla Jungle at The Cockpit (10-14 August)
Following the success of its Iron Curtain Trilogy in 2014, Burning Coal Theatre is back at The Cockpit. The small but innovative American theatre company certainly hasn’t taken the easy route for its return trip, performing Philip Ridley’s Dark Vanilla Jungle. A harrowing tale of a young woman living in the aftermath of a brutal sexual assault, the play is not going to be easy viewing, but it is one of the most intriguing additions to the Camden Fringe programme.
CTRL+ALT+DELETE at Camden People’s Theatre (8-16 August)
Another essential but emotionally tough production, Emma Packer’s CTRL+ALT+DELETE confronts the issue of domestic abuse and how some mothers treat their children. The play centres on Amy Jones, who lives in Brixton and (despite her age) is fervently engaged with the world around her. As she rages against inequality and injustice, it becomes clear that it’s those closest to her that are perhaps the ones she should be most afraid of. Touching on political events, terrorism, the 2011 riots, the housing crisis and immigration, CTRL+ALT+DELETE is both engaged and engaging.