Characters on the edge: theatre at Underground Venues

PRESS RELEASE: For immediate release May 21st 2019

Underground Venues are stalwarts of the Buxton Fringe and once more have lots of theatre to enjoy across their spaces at the Old Clubhouse and the Arts Centre Studio.

At the Arts Centre Studio, firm Fringe favourites return with brand new work. In Funny in Real Life, a stand-up comedian sees his world fall apart when his wife decides he can't mention her onstage. Real-life married couple, Rob Rouse (Upstart Crow, BBC) and Helen Rutter (Buxton Fringe Award Winner) ask should anything be off-limits in the realm of confessional comedy? Last year’s Comedy Award winners Nathan & Ida return with a brand-new, fast-paced, screwball adventure - Tropez! Two underdogs attempt to pull off a jewel heist and find love, friendship and the fulfilment of dreams on the French Riviera. Sudden Impulse Theatre Company are back with Jeffrey Bernard is Unwell; the award-winning team behind many Fringe hits presents a hilarious new comedy adaptation about the hedonistic days of Fleet Street hacks as Jeffrey pours a drink and recounts some riotous tales.

Local theatre makers are out in force as Easy Company bring us Jordan, based on a true story, a deeply moving portrayal of one mother's descent into hell - what would lead a woman to kill the one human being she loved most in the world? Buxton Drama League presents Contractions, an early play from the creator of TV's Doctor Foster, by Mike Bartlett. Emma thinks she is in love. Her boss thinks she is in breach of contract and enforces intrusive employer surveillance.

In White Nurse, the first of two plays from JustOut Theatre, after battling with her boyfriend

Layla visits a rehabilitation centre with a unique difference. This is an empowering tale of the blurred lines separating love, addiction, hate and all things in between. Also struggling in love is Ben Schwarz’s Soapbox Racer - what do you do when the love of your life dumps you for your best friend? Race down a hill, in a matchbox on wheels obviously!

In Woman on Fire, Certain Curtain Theatre Company invites us to discover the turbulent history of the militant suffragettes through the eyes of one unsung suffragette. Meanwhile Debris by Dennis Kelly plunges us into a fever dream unlike any other. Despite The Monkey uses cutting-edge 3D sound to immerse us in an uncompromising play.

In their Old Clubhouse base Underground has even more theatre. Fringe regular Ruth E Cockburn is always popular and invites us to a family party in Knees Bent Bras Off Ra Ra Ra. Through poetry, storytelling, interviews and song, experience three generations of music and dance, and hear family secrets. Another family favourite, offering an opportunity to experience a comic genius, is Just Like That! The Tommy Cooper Show. This tribute features the misfiring magic and quick-fire gags that made him an international star.

Not so family friendly, Despite the Monkey’s second Fringe show, Autopsy, continues the use of 3D audio to bring audiences a choice of one of three terrifying tales from the Lovecraftian world of pulp horror. And Some Kind of Theatre offers cannibalism, werewolf trials, deceit, and murder in The Grandmothers Grimm. Can the darkness be removed from these fairy stories without erasing the identities of the women who told them?

Modern relationships are under scrutiny in Between Us as nationally acclaimed improvisers Alex Keen & Rachel E Thorn tell the inside story of one couple's relationship and what makes us fall in love, or fall apart? In All the Bens from 1974 Productions, Ben likes Al, but Al says he's straight. Al likes Henry, but not in that way... Meanwhile People Zoo Productions are intent on debunking gender myths in Men Chase Women Choose. Using film, physical theatre and music, they take you on a journey through decades of bad science.

Two views on family life come from opposite ends of the parenting spectrum. Updownsizing by Ginny Davis, is a new comedy about the chaos of modern life in which the kids have flown the nest and it's time to downsize. There’s a fresh new perspective on teenage pregnancy in Home from JustOut Theatre, where Lauren and Reece are trying to do the best for their three-month-old son - but can that really mean separating themselves from their own parents completely?

The Neat Freak, a bold new one-woman-show from Moon House Theatre, sews together diverse real-life stories about Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD), the types of intrusive thoughts it brings and the compulsions that follow. In We Apologise For The Inconvenience by 5064 Productions, Douglas Adams is in trouble. Famously bad with deadlines, he's been locked in a hotel room by his publisher to finish his new book, but with a universe of distractions, this soon seems infinitely improbable.

There are plenty more theatre treats in Fringe40. For further information see the printed programme, or the new Buxton Fringe App.

The Fringe wishes to thank its sponsor The University of Derby as well as financial supporters The Trevor Osborne Charitable Trust and High Peak Borough Council, its Fringe Friends and the town’s many Fringe supporters and venues.

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