BUXTON FRINGE 2014: Theatre entertainment that’s out of this world

Haylo Theatre's Over the Garden Fence.
Haylo Theatre's Over the Garden Fence.

Theatre forms a third of the entertainment at the Buxton Fringe, and with so much creative imagination on display it has the capacity to transport you to somewhere else entirely.

Butterfly invite you into Poole’s Cavern to meet Dracula’s Women Underground, while Scrivener’s Bookshop, complete with Victorian cellar, becomes the spooky setting for Cul-de-sac theatre company’s The Ghosthunters’ Club and also for Threadbare Carpet’s The Good Lady Ducayne, inspired by a Victorian horror story. Equally unnerving is Wireless Theatre’s chiller The Woman on the Bridge, at The Palace Hotel.

New managed venue The Market Place plays host to Orange and Pip Theatre’s After Alic, focusing on grief, or lack of, following a friend’s death.

The Hydro is the setting for a charmingly minimalist production of The Railway Children by Crowd of Two Theatre Company, and The Old Hall Hotel provides the backdrop for Act-IV Theatre Company’s Oui Chef! about the Victorian chef Alexis Soyer.

Other productions take you back in time. The Off-Off-Off Broadway Company brings its rich imagination to Alfred Hitchcock’s Rear Window in Back Door, a reworking set in 1920s Paris.

Hasland Theatre Company tells the true story of 19th-century ‘freak’ The Elephant Man, and Breathe Out Theatre’s An Extraordinary Light acknowledges the role of scientist Rosalind Franklin in discovering the structure of DNA.

Stage3 Theatre Company’s Professor Harry Stottle’s Music Hall Extravaganza recreates the Edwardian heyday of the British music hall, while Arletty Theatre brings Swan Canaries, a musical play about the women who filled military shells during WWI.

Family dynamics make for great theatre. Ginny Davis performs alongside newcomer James Goldsworthy in Fashionably Late in which a family battle adversity to plan a party.

Serious issues are explored in Buxton Drama League’s Caroline in which a mother deals with the death of her child, and Haylo Theatre’s Over the Garden Fence in which Annabelle comes to terms with her grandmother’s dementia.

Dreamshed Theatre explores the relationship of comedians Tony Hancock and Kenneth Williams in Seriously Funny, while The Speech by Tony Earnshaw follows a struggling female PM.

A cricket umpire has a huge lottery win in Godfrey’s Last Stand by Talking Stock Productions, while the life choices of three characters are examined in First Class by Aulos Productions and Relief Theatre.

Phillipa and Will Are Now in a Relationship, part of a double bill from Freerange, creates a kind of Romeo and Juliet for the Facebook age, and Boy on a Bed from Organised Chaos Productions explores the ramifications of a runner’s decision to pose for a painter with very different values.

For fans of the classics, Uproot Theatre Company’s reworks Shakespeare with a two-man Coriolanus, Sudden Impulse Theatre Company presents Stephen Berkoff’s adaptation of Kafka’s In The Penal Colony and Sudden Impulse Theatre offers Dario Fo’s class-based farce One Was Nude and One Wore Tails.