Compiling 28 wide-ranging performances, The Fringe on The Fringe festival launches London’s newest theatre venue in leafy Parsons Green. But Upstairs at The Southern Cross is in no way conventional; a far cry from the traditional black box, the venue at present (with a large bar in the centre of the room) relies heavily upon audience imagination and cleverly thought-out staging. Consequently, the success of the intimate, make-shift venue is yet to be certified, but one cannot deny its quirkiness and potential, particularly for interesting performances on the traverse. The festival, now in its 3rd week, boasts the best of Brighton and Edinburgh Fringe theatre, promising an exciting, diverse programme of comedy, music, cabaret and drama from acts guaranteed by previous fringe acclaim.
Having timed the festival neatly between the Brighton and Edinburgh festivals, Upstairs at the Southern Cross has been able to attract international acts in addition to the homegrown. Ray Racham, Artistic Director of the London Theatre Workshop and its festival, hopes that the venue will ultimately become a flexible performance and workshop space – “a hub for artistic innovation.” Both Racham and creative producer, Sarah Shelton are delighted to be kicking off with the festival which “brings in talent of such a high calibre.” This is certainly true in the case of Just Another Love Story, a charming compilation of Sondheim’s love songs with the cast of eight each giving beautiful vocal performances.
With forthcoming acts such as Instant Theatre (improv) and Hear my Song (an evening of songs by Jason Robert Brown), The Fringe on the Fringe festival is absolutely worth a visit, best suited perhaps to the inquisitive type seeking a lighthearted, informal evening of entertainment; the pub even has a beer and burger offer for ticket holders!
But arrive early, because if you sit anywhere other than on the front row you might just have to make do with beautiful vocals and an excellent view of the back of a tall man’s head.
Performances run until 4th August on Friday’s, Saturdays and Sundays. For more information and a performance schedule see: www.upstairsatthesoutherncross.co.uk