Fringe Awards

I feel like I should finish my Fringe Festival blogging before I can move on to writing about the Dublin Theatre Festival and there are a couple of things that have been thinking about over the last couple of weeks.

The last show of the festival was the Fringe Awards on the Sunday night. Loads of things I hadn’t seen got a mention and won awards but there were a few winners that I had seen. The lovely Camille O’Sullivan won Best Night at the Speilgeltent which was well deserved, though I’m not the most educated judge since hers was the only show I saw at the Speilgeltent!

Who is Fergal Kilpatrick? won one of the Best Show awards. I can’t decide if I liked this show or not. I got under my skin because it was a little bit too clever – things were set up and then the rug was pulled out from under your feet as soon as you felt like you knew what was going on. I liked the ideas behind the show and how they explored and confounded our expectations of theatre. It made me think but it didn’t really make me feel anything. I found it interesting but a little bit irritating. I am interested to see what they do next.

Another award-winning show that I did manage to see wasIris Brunette which was created and performed by Best Actress winner Melanie Wilson. I liked this show a lot and it has stuck with me though it was a strange experience. I feel lucky to have seen it because it played to a tiny audience of 20 in the Player’s Theatre at Trinity. It was a deceptively simple show with no set to speak of and a cast of one. It was almost the exact opposite of Who is Fergal Kilpatrick? – there was no trickery here, it was very much what you see is what your get. The artist cast the audience as other people in her strange dystopia and towards the end involved them in the performance by asking choose-your-own-adventure style questions. This simple show created such a rich world because of the wonderful performance by Melanie Wilson. She created the world through her character – the way she stood and moved and spoke were a result of that world, and as a result, that world felt very close at hand.

The main thing I got from the awards was the sense of community around the Fringe. Some might describe it as clique-y but I think that though it may seem like that from the outside, it is open to newcomers. The same names would come up again and again in the thank you speeches and the atmosphere felt supportive more than aggressively competitiveness. It is a community that I would very much like to be part and my new ambition is to have a show in near year’s Fringe Festival!

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