Today (Wednesday 14th August) until Saturday (17th) is Ventnor Fringe, a small Isle of Wight arts festival in its fourth year. The idea behind it is an excellent one, as many creatives have recently been forced (financially or otherwise) to stay on the island when they may previously have left, so some young people took the opportunity to create a smaller, even more intimate and equally creatively exciting fringe festival as Edinburgh.
I will be checking out proceedings and reviewing four events in particular for Yoppul on Thursday and Saturday, so I thought I’d do a little preview of what I’ll be writing about (the first four on this list) and a few of the other potential highlights.
Champs, 7:30pm Thursday, St Catherine’s Church
Champs are an alternative, folk-poppy band with psychedelic harmonies comprising of brothers Michael and David Champion from the Isle of Wight. You can currently hear them on the Spirit Is Broken EP, with a free download of lead single My Spirit Is Broken (below) on their website. Their single St Peters has been played on Dermot O’Leary’s Radio 2 show, and with 5 star gig reviews in London, they are undoubtedly gaining momentum.
Champs will be supported by Babushka Baba Yaga (aka Rhian Teasdale, another local), who sounds like this (almost a cross between Kate Bush and Patrick Wolf):
Sounds About Wight, 5pm Saturday, St Catherine’s Church
Pun points must go to this musical ensemble for their name! Made up of two flutes, french horn and piano, this must be one of the most unusual combinations at the fringe, but they are also totally professional. With a mixture of genres including light classics, jazz and blues, plus a touch of humour, I am extremely excited to find out what they have in store for Ventnor.
Chorderize, 6:30pm Saturday, The Yurt In The Woods
Who knows what exactly this event will feature! They hope to include an improvised collaboration between a painter, a photographer, a poet and a singer/songwriter for this performance, and their overall mission is to combine the best in local creativity with broad cross-genre work. The level of improvisation and unpredictability should make this a very exciting two hours.
The Last Night Of The Fringe, 9:30pm Saturday, Trinity Church
The festival’s big musical finale, this is set to feature Marques Tolivier + The Sometimes – Marques recently toured with Paloma Faith and his violin playing is well-acclaimed – as well as a jam session led by The Bees’ Paul Butler featuring artists from The Spire Sessions and “special guests”. This ought to be a lively and eclectic musical mix; the audience is likely to find at least a splash of RnB, pop harmonies and rock in there.
Ventnor Fringe Forum, 1pm Thursday, Reading Room
A variety of different discussions, both panel-led and free-running, to encompass the Fringe’s artists, creative professionals and arts fans alike. With the whole Fringe’s relaxed and inclusive vibe, the Forum should be a worthwhile medium for sharing ideas about creative hubs outside London, if nothing else.
Hamlet, 8:30pm Thursday & 1pm Saturday, Pier Street Playhouse
I recently wrote a preview and interview feature on this production of Hamlet, and their debut is here at the Fringe. Many may be intimidated by Hamlet as a play, but director Hannah Brewer has abridged the text down from four hours to ninety minutes by focusing on the theme of revenge, so it promises to be snappy, innovative and well-refined. Each of the actors are completely committed to their roles, with Josh Pointing (Hamlet) and Emily Scotcher (Laertes) even taking fencing lessons for months to successfully portray their fight scenes. I have to wait until Friday 23rd to see the finished product for myself at Chale Church, but I wish the team the best of luck with their two Ventnor performances!