Our Brighton Bites series offers short, witty and slightly tongue-in-cheek insights into the offerings at England’s largest arts festival. Robert Cohens tells us about his show,Something Rotten,performing at Sweet Waterfront.
How would you describe your show in one sentence?
The events of Hamlet re-told from the viewpoint of the Prince’s murderous yet fiendishly hard-working uncle, King Claudius of Denmark.
Is this your first visit to Brighton Fringe, if so, what interesting tales have you been told about what to expect?
No, not my first visit; I be a local yokel of many years’ standing. Thus, it falls to me to tell the interesting tales. Well, not all that interesting, actually; I’d merely stress to those who’ve not been before just how hard they’re going to have to work – there’s an ever-growing number of shows competing for a finite number of punters (and that’s even before you consider the competition from the “official” Festival in all its sumptuously-funded glory).
How has the show developed on the way to Brighton?
Being arguably the world’s most friendly and affordable arts festival, the Barnstaple Fringe TheatreFest is a great place to try out new work without a load of pressure, and that’s what I did a year ago with SR. Over the course of that premiere run, I learned to my relief that I’d struck the right note with my script, re-telling Hamlet in a way that made the story clear to newcomers without boring the pants off those already in the know. Hence, the show hasn’t changed much in the past year – except in the sense that I’ve got more and more on top of the text and thus increasingly confident in my performance. On its last outing, at the Georgian Theatre Royal in Richmond, North Yorks, it excited the Northern Echo to the use of the term “masterful”.
How have you been preparing for Brighton Fringe?
By spreading myself as thin as Marmite (or as thin as I like it, anyway – my dad slaps it on with a trowel); as well as preparing Something Rotten, I’ve been rehearsing to play Aaronow in Glengarry Glen Ross at the Rialto, helping out with the Sweet Venues publicity effort, and developing a character as part of the ensemble for the Hydrocracker/Blast Theory immersive theatre project Operation Black Antler (that last one’s actually part of the big posh “official” Festival, but who’s counting?).
What do you think sets your show apart from all the other festival offerings?
400 years since the Bard shuffled off this mortal coil, Something Rotten is the only show offering to spill the beans, the full beans, and nothing but the beans about the background to all those iconically bloody events at Elsinore.
What’s the show that you don’t want to miss at this year’s Brighton Fringe (apart from your own!)?
At the risk of seeming to indulge in mutual back-scratching (he’s been highly supportive of my own work), I’ll be very interested to see Chris Neville-Smith in Waiting For Gandalf. Better known to me previously as an indefatigably hard-working, well-travelled theatre blogger, Chris is bringing to the Fringe a show which, from what he’s whispered, looks to be considerably darker and more interesting than a play about a Lord of the Rings obsessive might seem to promise (to me, at least, as one far from obsessed with The Lord of the Rings).
If your show was a flavour of Brighton Rock, what would it be?
The flavour of deadly hebenon.
Something Rottemis being performed 30 May – 5 June2016
The Reviews Hub is proud to be an Official Media Partner of Brighton Fringe 2016