The Question of Independence

Question Flag

As the Thursday vote for Scottish independence draws near, the debate among those in favor and those against rages on.  On Thursday, the Queen made rare public commentary outside her Balmoral estate, which the media have seized upon as an indication of her disapproval.

Well, I hope people will think very carefully about the future.

There are many issues at stake, ranging from concerns over currency and banking to deeper questions national identity.  With so much at stake, most people probably aren’t thinking about the impact of independence on the international theatre community.  It’s worth noting that the first (and largest) festival of fringe theatre in the world was founded in 1947 in Edinburgh.  Nearly seventy years on, the festival remains the driving force of international fringe, selling a record 1,943,493 tickets this past August.

What would you do?

As the US arm of FringeReview, it is neither our place nor our desire to weigh in on either side of this referendum but the decision, whatever it may be, will likely have a profound effect on the future of fringe.  Many of the shows which develop on the American (and other international) fringe circuits go on to play Edinburgh, and much of the most popular work on offer at our own festivals comes directly off the stages of the Festival Fringe.

In a post-independence world, there will be all sorts of unknowns to contend with, ranging from visa-related issues to questions about funding.  What other unforeseen effects might Scottish independence have on the fringe, audience and practitioner alike?

In honor of the Fringe’s Scottish roots, and of this momentous event, we’re asking what you would do?  Fill in our anonymous poll above to let us know how you would vote if you were in the booth on Thursday.

Jumping Through Hoops!

What a busy week! Between finalizing things for FringeNYC and catching up on life in the outside world, things would have been exciting enough. Throw launching two new teams on both coasts in the same week and coordinating with two festivals across three time zones and you’ve got a full week indeed!

We’re very pleased to announce limited coverage of the San Francisco Fringe and FringeArts, in Philadelphia! Can’t wait to start reading those lovely reviews! More to come.

FringeNYC 2014 All Finished – Picks of the Fringe

Well that was a brilliant experience.  What an amazing collection of shows.  Thanks for all the laughs, FringeNYC.  Here are our highlights of the fringe.

Tunnel Play

  • The Tunnel Play – End of the world drama from The Dirty Blondes.  William Glenn reviewed this outstanding production.  Highlights included incredible writing and a brilliant minimalist design.  But our review wasn’t the only great press to hit the Dirty Blondes.  NYTheatreNow,, and StageBuddy all had great things to say about this haunting piece of new writing.

brilliant and brilliantly cast


  • Breaking the Shakespeare Code – Verbal sparring; romance via Shakespeare.  Cindy Pierre delivers an outstanding recommendation for this Hey Jonte! production.  Highlights include impressive use/re-melding of Shakespeare into the modern context, and the verbal match of wits between actors Tim Weinert and Miranda Jonte.

carefully-written banter

Enter Your Sleep

  • Enter Your Sleep – Dreamscapes and shattered lives: new writing from Christina Quintana.  Read William Glenn’s outstanding recommendation here. Highlights include the surreal, dream-like state the production manages to create, pulling its audiences into the mindset with the protagonists.

impetuous and endearing


  • The Doormen – Rambunctious physical comedy from Victor Verhaeghe and Joe Boover.  An outstanding recommendation from William Glenn muses on macho dancing in the early afternoon.  Highlights include the fantastic choreo and the incorporated multimedia elements.

plot twists we never would have imagined

The List

  • The List – A bizarre yet hilarious mashup of Hollywood’s greatest hits.  Trish Parry recommends this 143 Productions show as outstanding.  Highlights include the intricate plot, woven from hand-me-down parts, and the brilliant acting.

an incredibly clever show

FringeReview Cross-Atlantic! Live from Edinburgh & New York

Social Media – The Great White Elephant in Promoting Events?
  • When: Today, Thursday 21st August 2014, 1830 UK Time, 1300 EDT
  • Where: Here. (live on Google Hangouts to Air)
  • How Long? 45 Minutes (The screencast will also be recorded)
  • How? Just watch it on your PC, tablet or smart phone! 

We are excited to announce our first ever live broadcast from the Edinburgh Fringe. You’ll be able to watch us live on YouTube and also Google Hangouts on Air. All you need is a laptop, a smartphone or a tablet and an internet connection. No need to register. No need to book.

The show lasts 45 minutes, and will be available to listen to afterwards as well.
We’ll have an accompanying Twitter conversation and Q & A feeding into the live conversation.
The underlying theme of this broadcast from the heart of the fringe is: Social Media in the Arts and Creative events: how to make it really work.
Is Social Media a largely over-inflated waste of time for theatremakers?Is Facebook a white elephant?Does Tweeting actually make difference to ticket sales?Is LinkedIn a pointless distraction ?Does PinInterest actually create no real interest ?Who’s actually making it work?

The Lineup for FringeReview Live

Hosted by FringeReview founder Paul Levy, the lineup includes…
– a live link up between Edinburgh Fringe and Fringe NYC in the United States, going live to William Glenn, theatre maker and editor of FringeReview USA
– special drop in guests from the Edinburgh Fringe – examples of artists whose use of social media affects their ticket sales
– a chat with  social media expert, founder of the Social Media Leadership Forum, Justin Hunt
– storyteller and Fringe podcaster, Ewan Spence
So do tune in!

We’ll also be publishing a link within an hour of the event so you can watch the screencast live on Youtube.

Follow @fringereview on Twitter and also #fringereviewlive.

Controversial, fun and full of intriguing content….

A View from the Back


As I wander from fringe to fringe, I often wear two hats.  For a few hours a day I am the Executive Officer of the QPM Zythos, second in command of the weighty and consequential task of maintaining the integrity of the beery timelines.  Or I am serving cupcakes and champaign and making rainbows in empty space.  Or I am leading people backwards in time to the couch where they wait in front of telly for mum to bring them soup and Calpol with hot Ribena.  Or whatever.  Basically, I am trying something, sharing something, doing something, driven by some unknown mania, and in the hopes that someone else will get something out of it.  That’s making theatre on the fringe – it’s bits and bobs and taking chances, experimenting, and pouring out heart and soul to create something fragile and cherished and quite possibly frivolous but no less important for…

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A Festival of Cancelled Shows

It happens at every festival, I suppose, but it’s always a blow when the show you’ve been getting excited to see gets cancelled.  You rock up to the venue, out of breath for having run from the subway, and no-one’s about.  It’s like a ghost town…  The FringeNYC staff have all been brilliant about it when it’s happened, offering to sort us out different shows and generally being really astonishingly nice, but it’s still a disappointment.  There are a million reasons a show might be cancelled, and most of the are understandable, but one can’t help wondering, in the back of the mind, if maybe, just *maybe*, the cast were on the sauce a little too much the night before and are spending the day eating chinese takeaway and watching reruns of South Park in between trips to the toilet.

The New Edinburgh Connection

So…  Announcement:  We are doing something exciting on the 21st.  A linkup conversation between fringe festivals.  An international congress of theatre makers meeting across five time zones to establish a connection.  FringeReview UK in Edinburgh and FringeReviewUS in New York will be shaking hands, digital-style for a Google Hangout of epic proportions.  Stay tuned for more news…

At First Glance…

We had a fantastic first day tromping around Manhattan. Amongst other highlights, we caught our first Outstanding show, The Tunnel Play, from The Dirty Blondes. More to come as we get into the swing of things and the festival picks up steam. The Theatre at the 14th St Y, by the way, is not at the 14th St YMCA, as one might imagine…  No, no…  It’s a good fifteen minutes away at the 14th St YWCA between 1st and 2nd Avenues.  Just FYI…  Anyway, if today’s offering is any indication, it’s going to be a great fringe.


Edinburgh Audio 2014: Paul Levy talks to Jack Holden about Awkward Conversations with Animals I’ve F*cked

Our stalwart leader, Paul Levy, chatting with War Horse’s Jack Holden in Edinburgh.


Since starring in War Horse in the West End, Jack Holden has pushed himself and his own boundaries with some solo theatre work. Here he talks to Paul Levy about starring in Rob Hayes’ one-man tragi-comedy Awkward Conversations with Animals I’ve F*cked.

Listen to our interview with Jack Holden

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