Bedlam’s Fringe 2019
Each Fringe the Bedlam Theatre display top quality drama. Mark ‘Divine’ Calvert went along to see just what this season holds…
Tonight I attended a press launch for a Fringe venue called Bedlam. The Theatre itself is a neogothic church, built in 1840 by one of The New Town’s chief architects, pon the site of the Old Town poorhouse, deriving its name from a nearby asylum for people with mental health issues. It is the oldest Fringe Venue in Edinburgh and, interestingly, the first production performed in its spooky holy enclaves was by a company that came from Bradford that was in 1970. This made me feel right at home. Divine’s from Bradford. A good bit of Yorkshireness never goes amiss. I settled in straight away with a few complementary gins and started to mingle with the excited thespians. The press-pack that I received revealed all the performances that are to be held at The Bedlam Theatre this Fringe.
We were called into the auditorium for a snapshot of a few of the performances being held there – a common theme being the reasons that people would have been incarcerated into the mental health system of the 1840s. Mental Health, Homosexuality, Transgender and Lesbian action. This made me feel even more at home. Divine’s always been a transgender bender. A gay girl trapped in a man’s body with no gender issues, a chick with a dick that has never had the op.
There was a lot to take in. An hour that tempted the audience with the smorgasbord of delights, my fave being a production called Splintered – A Queer Caribbean carnival. Sprinkled with sad truths and joyful lies and based on interviews with queer women in Trinidad and Tobago. Firmly on Divine’s review list. Then the director and host of the Late Night Sessions arrived, a very fetching performer herself. Mirroring the ethos of the main programme, Taliah has aimed to use Late Night to provide a platform for disempowered voices. I couldn’t have felt more at home. Then there was a comedian that was genuinely funny, called Ken Cheng, who is running a show called “To All The Racists I’ve Blocked Before.”
I didn’t expect to be touched as deeply as I was tonight. The Bedlam revealed just how progressive theatre has become. All the subject matters were relevant to me and my experience through life. Bradford was just as homophobic in the 80s as I could imagine the Caribbean is today. The Bedlam Theatre offers a safe place for people to be real. If you want to Come Out and play, The Bedlam Theatre is calling you. Divine’s Top Pick and The fringe hasnae started yet. ❤
Good Time Divinexxx