The 11th annual Pulse Fringe Festival is now well underway and, as we approach the middle weekend, it’s a good opportunity to reflect on the first week. During week one, 24 different productions encompassing dance, drama, comedy, and film took place across the Ipswich in a multitude of locations. Some were polished, finished work, others in the very embryonic stages of development.
Although all individual pieces, there does seem to be a few emerging trends this year. Themes of memory, isolation and identity seem to be the subject of choice for many works. There is also less focus on the multi-media this year compared with last, where nearly every other show seemed to come complete with an animated projected backdrop.
As with any festival promoting new works and experimentation, some productions are more successful than others. Artists are able to try new work and learn from audience feedback what works well and what still needs attention or cutting.
Out of the 18 shows seen from those initial 24, those pieces still needing some development includes:
30 Cecil Street, a dance piece that promises an insight into a run-down theatre but never fully brings the ghosts alive
Captain KO and the Planet of Rice, a trio of short stories around memory loss, the middle of which is the only one really to engage an audience
Escape Velocity, a confusing look at the isolation of space travel that needs a much more defined structure
Downtown, reliant on stereotype and shock tactics to cover up a paper thin script.
Other pieces are far more developed and will surely go onto a bright future.
Babyboxes, managing to take theatre to the streets in a uniquely intimate film noir whodunit
Josh’s Monsters, a moving look at the impact of war on the families of serving soldiers
You’re Not Like Other Girls Chrissy, a beautifully detailed and engaging look at wartime love and loss in Nazi-occupied Paris
A Dream From A Bombshell, Dreams and reality blur in a look at the impact of war on a young girl.
Week two gets underway tonight and, with eight more days of festival fun, there is still much to be seen.