Bedlam's 2019 program is fiercer than ever
Bedlam Theatre kicked off the Edfringe press launch circuit last night with a bang. Their newest fringe program was among the boldest and most diverse we’ve seen in recent years, with an explicit goal to showcase underrepresented and marginalised voices. “We are… supporting minority voices, with people of colour, LGBTQ+ community members, working-class artists, trans and non-binary creatives and women taking centre stage,” writes Angela O’Callaghan, Bedlam’s Head of Programming for 2019. The sentiment is echoed by Taliah Horner, Director of Late Night at Bedlam, who aims to “provide a platform for disempowered voices.” Our response, of course, is an unequivocal YASSS!
Seriously, though, what makes the Bedlam program stand out is its authenticity. The venue has a proud history of championing bold, new writing (the careers of playwrights Ella Hickson and Lucy Kirkwood were launched here), and its small but carefully curated roster bears no hint of jumping on the millennial marketing bandwagon. Inclusivity isn’t “in” at Bedlam — it’s essential.
So, which shows would Fringebiscuit recommend, based on last night’s event? Of the five acts showcased, we particularly enjoyed fringe veteran Ken Cheng, whose latest stand up hour, To All The Racists I've Blocked Before looks to be a hilarious, skilfully nuanced and unapologetic commentary on racism today's Britain.
Our hands-down, star of the night, however, was Splintered — the self-proclaimed “queer carnival party” produced by New Diorama Emerging Company, Lagahoo Productions. Based upon interviews with queer women in Trinidad and Tobago, Splintered fuses sketch comedy and cabaret in an unexpectedly piercing analysis of homophobic culture. The fierceness onstage could be felt a mile off and reinforced the sense that Bedlam’s program seeks to promote change that lasts far beyond the Fringe season.
Wish you were there? Catch the highlights from our Fringebiscuit selfie booth above. Also, checkout the rest of Bedlam Theatre’s 2019 program here.