Monthly Archives :

January 2016


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On Your Marks… Get Set… Austerity

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The Austerity Games is an elaborately comical spin on Dickens’ A Christmas Carol. The performance is set in 1940s Britain after the spoils of war and the implementation of the NHS, following a pessimistic Mrs Britt (played by Emma Sian Cooper, writer) during the 1948 London Olympic games, who perfectly depicts the reluctance to change into a post-wartime widower. 

    A resentful Mrs B is beckoned by her nephew to celebrate the Olympic games to which she bitterly declines. Between re-enactments of governmental propaganda, Mrs Britt is visited by three influential spirits –the spirits of Olympic past, present and future (Taresh Solanki, Director) – who attempt to install enthusiasm back into the sceptic widow by means of favourable memories and Olympic highlights. 

    This award winning comedy drama is expressive, extrovert and downright entertaining. Throughout the show is persistent audience participation and witticism which accentuates the underlying themes of austerity in a country that has felt the strains of war. 

    Though this is Tell Tale’s first play from 2012, the act presents many similarities to a scrouge-like Margaret Thatcher. Having said this, I don’t know that she was ever met with three ghosts, nor do I believe she ever truely repented her polital wrongdoings. Hey-Ho!

    I can only describe the show as mockingly brilliant, this is a definite must see at Ventnor Fringe. 

The Austerity Games will be shown at Pier Street Playhouse Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday at 6pm. 


By Hollie Hayes

FREE THE FRINGE- Thursday 13th August

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It’s day three of the Fringe, which means more free events for you to indulge in! 

For the earlybirds amongst you, Maitri is holding a yoga session in the Woodland Bar at 11am to help you loosen yourself up and prepare for the eventful day ahead of you. From 1pm, there will be art and bushcraft workshops for the whole family to enjoy- so don’t say you’re stuck for something to do! The Fringe is then hosting a Fringe Forum where the best in the industry will be discussing topical issues in festivals and the arts.

The first of the musical performances in the Woodland Bar comes from Island band Polar Maps following successful stints at Rhytmtree Festival and the Isle of Wight Festival. They will be followed by Ventnor lad Patrick Gooden, whose musical influences include Leonard Cohen and Bob Dylan. The final Free Fringe performance of the day in the Woodland Bar is from folk-pop band Something About Mondays ahead of their performance at Postfest later in the month. 

Over in The Observatory, festival goers will be treated to another performance by Patrick Gooden and Elliot Porter, after his successful performance in the Woodland Bar yesterday. 4pm sees a solo performance from Rob Henry before his first ever full band show tomorrow, followed by jazz duo The Cool Connection, who will be bringing their smooth sounds to the fans at 6pm. With her second performance of the week, the acoustic sounds of Poppy Janella will be bringing fans into an evening performance by rock outfit The Delinquents. Closing the Free Fringe events today is a DJ set by Green & Apples who will keep you dancing throughout. 

Make sure you look out for fantastic buskers and all the other secret happenings around town and remember to purchase The Fringe Pass which allows you access to the Woodland Bar, The Observatory and the shuttle buses around town. At £2, it’s a steal! 

In the Jaws of The Lion and the Wolf

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An interview with the bearded man himself, Tom George, featuring the full band and production team ‘Red Squirrel Productions’.  

What are you all about?

Well, my name’s Tom George, I’m a heavily bearded 6’7” and of course a local Singer-songwriter. I write and record in Ventnor with the amazing analogue production team, Red Squirrel, but have been gigging all over Europe since 2014. I quit my job at Apple just over a year ago to start touring as The Lion and The Wolf and it’s safe to say I haven’t looked back since.

When’s the first time you remember picking up a guitar and taking those vocal chords for a whirl?

Well it’s the classic story, I picked up my first guitar when I was 14 and never put it down. However, I do actually recall my very first experience of playing a red Fender when I was 5. It had a white scratch plate and was far too big for me, but who knows, perhaps that was where it all began!

*Enter Red Squirrel*

Tell us what The Lion and the Wolf and Red squirrel productions have been up to since your debut album ‘Symptoms’ was released last summer?

Red Squirrel – Well, we’ve been extremely busy in the studio, both recording and practicing for our full band tour in September.”

Tom – Between work, touring and of course having a few beers, we’ve just finished recording a 7 inch which I’m very excited to be release on the 2nd October, then of course there’s the 2nd album.

What kind of sound can we expect from your new material?

Red Squirrel – ORG-AN-IC! And no that doesn’t mean organs. It’s going to be much more stripped back, we played the songs through as a full band and essentially that’s how we recorded them. ‘Symptoms’ has been such a great success for us and the production worked so well for those tracks, but at times it’s fair to say we would often put 3 organs on to a track, just because we could.”

Tom – I love the more organic sound and I’m so happy with what we’ve created, I’m going to predict that this new album will surpass ‘Symptoms’.

Wow, so quite a different sound. Will we be hearing anything from the new album at ‘Lounge Around Town’ on Sunday?

Tom – You will indeed ! Myself and the band are really pumped, and have been practicing hard for our tour of Germany in October. So Sunday will be the first time all 8 of us have performed together in front of a live audience. For me, I don’t mind if 20 or 200 people turn out for the show, I’m just stoked to be playing with all the people who’ve made The Lion and the Wolf happen. 

That’s really lovely to hear. I for one am incredibly excited for the gig so before you leave us, give us the deets’

Tom- “Doors are at 6pm, and show starts 6.30pm sharp at Trinity Church, near the Woodland stage. We’re playing as part of Vfringe’s finale ‘Lounge Around Town’ which you can buy tickets for from Ventnor Exchange. There’s loads of other great music on, starting from 1pm and I’m only too sure we’ll see all of you later at the Observatory after party. 

Thank you so much Tom, and thank you Red Squirrel. I can’t wait to hear the full band reverberating off the walls of Trinity Church, it’s going to be a real treat.

Tickets are available from Ventnor Exchange for just £12 and if you’d like to check out the home grown talent of The Lion and the Wolf before the gig tonight, go to – to listen to his debut album.


FREE THE FRINGE- Saturday 15th August

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It’s the weekend, which means you’ve got no excuse for not letting your hair down and enjoying a bit of free entertainment around Ventnor! 

There’s an absolutely massive lineup in the Woodland Bar, with entertainment of all forms, all day from dawn to dusk. As usual, there will be art and bushcraft workshops as well as yoga sessions with Maitri in the the morning and early afternoon. The music lineup begins with dream-pop duo The Diamond Age ahead of their gig at the Ventnor Arts Club later this evening. They will be followed by the likes of David Littleton, The Delinquents, Slombers Woke, Dave Smith and Cherry Taylor. Whilst all this is going on, outside in the Woodland Bar area will be performances from Kamala Tribal belly dancers and Tilly Twist hula-hoop performer. Closing the evening in the Woodland Bar is the ever-brilliant Ventnor Darlings with an extra-special Ventnor Fringe set!

The Observatory has a bill to match with performances from David Littleton, Tom Francis Turner, Music Craft and Island City Music. There will then be a break in events to make way for the Ventnor Illuminated Carnival extravaganza! So make sure you head on down to the main town so you don’t miss any of the action. The carnival afterparty in The Observatory will be hosted by DJ Kaftan to keep you dancing on into the night!

There will also be a few special performances in the Exchange from David A. Ballard with poetry, Will & Si and the Fringe Review’s very own Poppy Janella! 

Renowned for its performances in strange spaces, Poppy will also be playing a pop-up show in the launderette at 8pm. The perfect opportunity to wash your clothes and listen to fantastic music!

THURSDAY at the Ventnor Fringe! (Millennium Plays / Stories on the Rock)

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On Thursday Caroline went and spoke to the directors and writer John and Jim to find out more about ‘The Millennium Plays’ at the Pier Street Playhouse. She also went to record some of ‘Stories on the Rock’ and chat to Isabel Rock about how she comes up with her fairytales for grown-ups.

Click here to listen.

Note From The Editor

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This is our 20th issue of the Fringe Review! 

I’d like to thank the Ventnor Fringe media team; a talented collection of writers, radio hosts, designers, filmers and photographers:

Miri Green, Caroline Barlow, Laura Clare Reid, Matt Hitt, Hollie Hayes, Ben Hansen-Hicks, Tom Paston-Cooper, Katy Rose Thorogood, Dan Travenna, Tobias Penner, Luke Bridgeman and Alicia Keele-Toms. 

This is our third year as the Fringe Review team and once again we’ve had a fantastic time attempting to entertain and update you lovely people. 

    As I sit here, they’re all dancing and singing out loud to Abba, covered head-to-toe with glitter wearing some of the most stylish outfits any media team has ever worn.     

Do you think we’ll all still be doing this when we’re 50?” – Miri Green

I truely hope so, I love you all,

Caty x x

Thank you Ventnor!

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It’s been another amazing year, with sell out shows around the board, pop up musical performance and dancing into the night.  Thank you all our audiences, artists, volunteers and Ventnor for helping us all make this happen.

Don’t forget you can let us know your thoughts and feedback on our online form here, or emailing us at

Don’t forget to share your photos using #vfringe15

Six Fingers To You

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Despite all that is happening in the world with the Olympics in Rio and more importantly the Ventnor Fringe, a matter keeps popping up. Yes, I am of course talking about all the ‘inbreeding’ on the Island and how it is, by the word of David Hoare, now a ‘ghetto’. 

    While many find this idea preposterous and ridiculous we thought we’d ask some of our visiting Fringers what they thought of all the inbred people they’d met in Ventnor this week…

“I haven’t encountered them as much as I thought I would despite the propaganda on the mainland. But I did see a man swimming abnormally fast, we could only assume that he had webbed toes.”Amy Taylor from Somerset. 

“My cousin married an inbred last year and it came as quite a shock to the family. So I’ve had to change my attitude and it turns out he’s pretty cool.” Miri Green from Weymouth.

“I thought I fitted in, in Golders Green but I’ve never felt as accepted as I am here.”Ritchie Xavier – London. 

So it seems that people aren’t all that bothered by the inbred population on the Island. 

    I’m not one to criticise someone’s opinions but I feel like the Ofsted Chairman may have only just learnt the word ‘ghetto’ from a young relative the day before. I only say this because dear old David did in fact repeat the phrase on several occasions; almost as though he were trying to justify to himself that he’d used the correct word. This is evident by the fact that not a single use of the phrase was used in the correct context.

    You know those times when you become aware that you’re wrong in an argument but keep arguing to save face and just hope that the other person starts doubting themselves; despite knowing that your point is totally unfounded. Yeah, that’s pretty much how I see this situation. 

So let’s clear this up, what does ‘ghetto’ actually mean?

Ghetto: A part of a city, especially a slum area, occupied by a minority group or groups.

The Isle of Wight is in fact an Island, I can see how you’d get confused with all these skyscrapers, strong mix of diverse cultural population and the grand cathedral in Newport. 

    Oh wait, what’s that? We don’t have any high rises, the population is largely Caucasian and despite the Island being home to over 100 churches, St Thomas’ Minster in St Thomas’ Square is not actually a cathedral. Well that’s an easy mistake for someone unfamiliar with the island.

“I have a house overlooking the Isle of Wight.”David Hoare

Oh, well this is awkward. 

    It’s also slightly awkward given the amount of culture that has travelled over to the Island via Red Funnel and WightLink ferries this week to entertain us here at the Ventnor Fringe. We have had over 300 artists from all cultural backgrounds and ethnicities performing this week, a number of which are actually Island-based. 

    But I think that we should take a positive from the situation, this hoop-la has given a huge amount of publicity to education on the Island. Despite some of the ridiculous statements that Mr Hoare gave, it is true that education on the Island could be better and this exposure has brought it to the forefront of people’s attention. 

    I must also add that the Ofsted Chairman did actually retract his statement with an official apology. 

“I understand that some of my specific comments were offensive as well as being unfounded. For this, I am truly sorry,” – David Hoare.

With this in mind I strongly believe that those outraged by what Mr Hoare said should remember… 

    While we sit under the same sun soaking up cultural delights brought to us by the Ventnor Fringe from all over the world; one man unable to work the dictionary does not a ghetto make. 


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Do you have the following symptoms:

  • A joyful, almost hysterical feeling of fatigue?
  • An insatiable hunger for hash browns?
  • A new found pleasure in puppetry?
  • Mismatching socks?
  • An alter ego which has taken the form of a pelican?
  • An obsession with crustaceans?

If so – DON’T PANIC!

Fringe plague is mostly harmless. Mostly.

We have asserted that patient zero was a Mister Jack Whitewood. He has been contained and we hope this outbreak will clear up by Sunday night, maybe Monday morning.

If symptoms persist, head straight to The Ventnor Exchange and have a swift import beer…maybe an Island Roasted coffee…maybe browse the vinyl…maybe buy a ticket to something nice…

All will be well.