Monthly Archives :

March 2016


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So far at the Fringe there has been sheep stealing, bird watching, and this evening the Parkside guests will witness Cowes Speaking.  Well actually, there won’t be any talking cattle but there’ll be a lot of laughing. 

    Started in 2013, Cowes Speak brings together a rag tag band of comedians, poets, musicians, magicians and a man who break into locked boxes. How’s that for a hectic, chaotic comedy variety show? According to it’s founder Adam Gaterell it will be “the most important thing you’ll ever see even if you don’t know it. Cowes Speak is like a part of your brain you didn’t know you needed.” 

    He continued… “I don’t really know how it came about. It started out as poetry in a pub and has twisted into chaos in the form of performance.”

    With a different mix of artists each time, the show is riotous, shambolic and totally bonkers. Today will see the bedlam brought to Ventnor, with fun, music, sing-alongs, breaking things, comedy, poetry, slightly rude drawings and prizes for all  – or at least prizes for many.

    To say Cowes Speak is a little bit mad would be the understatement of the festival. 

    Join them at Parkside at 7:30 – get your tickets now! 


By Matt Hitt

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Karl Sparx… born in a coal mine

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Bringing his debut show ‘A Kick in the Vortex’ to the Fringe this year, Karl Sparx has dropped into the Exchange to tell us about the murder mystery in store. Click here to listen!

Stop, Wait a Minute it’s The Post Man!

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Remember that letter you sent 50 years ago?

Well tomorrow it may turn up at The Plaza. Dear Great Aunt Sofia is popping in to see her nephew once removed (we think, she maybe on the run) and with her she comes in the world’s last surviving mobile sorting office, which has retro-chic charm. Within the office is an archive of undelivered letters for you to rummage through and check that Aunt Marg was right the letter was undelivered.

Or why not go old school (just like this printed paper) and pick up and quill or fire up your fingers on the typewriter and compose a letter to a pen pal for ‘Friends for Pens’. The Last post will be at the plaza to fulfill all your faux pas postal needs today and tomorrow from 11-1pm/2-4pm.

By Caroline Barlow

The Lonely Hearts Club

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As the great Tina Turner once asked, “what’s love got to do with it?”


I am Miss Reid and my mission this Ventnor Fringe is to get some eyes meeting over crowded rooms, some sweet nothings whispered in to ears and some Disney style love duets happening (flying carpet optional). So, shall we begin?

Our first contestant is the darling Miss B and she is, without question, just the most adorable package of loveliness I’ve had the pleasure of meeting. She enjoys porridge, red wine and vans.

In fact, she is looking for a man with a van. If you would like to meet Miss B and discuss vans, please email a photo of your van to, or pop into the press office with van details.

Let’s envelope Ventnor in a fog of love. A mist of affection. A low, damp cloud of hugs and kisses.

Miss Reid.x

International Festival: Day Two

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The Ventnor International Festival has begun its mission to delight and bewilder the minds of the Fringe. Houston, prepare to have your mind thoroughly blown.

    Last night proved to be an awfully big success, darlings. The International Festival side was kick-started (not physically, we at Fringe don’t condone physical violence) with Toby Thompson’s intimate Caravan Sessions. Parkside comedy then closed the evening with a witty comical show at the Parkside venue. 

    The specials on the menu for this evening: Three truly scrumptious local screenings located at the Ventnor Arts Club and the euphoric musings of Toby Thompson. One of many returning Fringe artists, Toby will be performing an intimate show for up to five lucky spectators in our vintage Caravan Debby located in Parkside over the course of this week. 

Prior to Toby Thompson will be two local screenings of Ventnor orientated films all for the price of a small donation. The first, 150 Years of Steam, celebrates the historical innovation of steam on the Island, including footage of the land that time forgot: Ventnor Station. Following 150 Years of Steam will be Unseen Ventnor, consisting of unearthed film and video depicting the Great Storm of 1987.  You can watch these cinematic masterpieces from 3pm onwards at Ventnor Arts Club.

    If you’re as excited as I am then make sure you head over to the Exchange to pick up your tickets or face the consequences of missing these spectacular performances, thus lacking your own interjections when your friends are reminiscing. 

Local screenings: 150 Years of Steam: Wed – 2pm @ Ventnor Arts Club Unseen Ventnor: Wed – 3pm @ Ventnor Arts Club 

Toby Thompson’s Caravan Sessions: 2pm, 2:30pm & 6pm. 

By Hollie Hayes

Lonely Hearts Column #3

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Slightly vertically challenged, ABSOLUTLEY ADORABLE young lady wants to know the answer to the following questions…

  • Do you enjoy tweed?
  • Do you feel life is better with red wine on tap?
  • Do you find yourself in the odd Shakesperian play?
  • Do you have a pulse?

If the answer is yes to any of these questions, then I will be willing to consider your application to be a doting suitor. Please drop a post it note through the artist registration window at The Exchange with your vital statistics and phone number. I’M WAITING FOR YOU. YOU KNOW WHO YOU ARE. 

Note from the Editor – Someone please respond, she hasnt let me leave the press office for three days. For god’s sake PLEASE SOMEONE MALE RESPOND. 

Join us for the The Blind Mole’s Ball

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Looking for an adventure? Join us for a unique experience at the ventnor fringe in a very special secret venue to the sounds of special guests including boogie belgique. 

Ventnor has a notorious history of once being a hive of activity for smugglers, rogues and retrobates. Keeping their activities secret, they hid their loot from the customs officers in safe houses, caves and secret passageways along the island’s south coast.

Unbeknown to most is the story of one of the most prolific of these characters, who hosted a secret society in Ventnor that began over 300 years ago. So few knew of their activities that when their meeting place was abandoned at the outbreak of the first World War it was left as it was – untouched and undiscovered – until now.

Among the old ledgers and manuals left behind in the old Post Office (now the Ventnor Exchange) was an undisclosed document, left forgotten at the back of the old vault. What at first seemed like a postal phrase, then perhaps a war time code, soon transpired with a little more research, to be something much more exciting; the founding document of the Blind Mole Society.

Once a year this group of tricksters and merry makers would convene in a secret location, revealed in the document, for the Blind Mole’s Ball, an annual gathering to celebrate their spoils. Now 101 years since their last meeting you are invited to revive this legendary tradition for one last time.



Explore the sounds of BOOGIE BELGIQUE 



Ventnor International INTRO

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The Ventnor International Festival has been in the works for a number of months now, so no; it wasn’t in retaliation to Brexit. There are many uncertainties after the events of June 23rd, but Fringers can be safe in the knowledge that whatever happens with Article 50, it will make little difference to the Ventnor Fringe. The team are more determined than ever to maintain partnerships overseas, all be it Europe, the USA or anywhere else in the world.

    One of the biggest features of the International Fringe will be the ‘Portrait of a Town’ exhibition. The origins of the piece go back to French street artist, JR and his project ‘Inside Out’. This was a huge venture that captured portraits of local people in towns across the world. I suppose you could say that Ventnor is adding to JR’s collection.

    Julian Winslow and Alice Armfield have spent weeks taking and editing the photographs and having already seen a number of the final snaps, I can confirm that they are flattering yet maintain a real and raw photographic spin.

    “It’s been a brilliant way to meet new people and give us the chance to talk to those whose faces we recognise day to day around the town – and what an amazing collection of faces we have!” – Jack Whitewood.

    The piece will be two hundred A1 photographs of various Ventnor characters plastered across the floor of the Plaza, in a very Mary Poppins’ Bert-the- street-screever style. You can watch this masterpiece set-up from 12pm on the seafront today. Photographs will be plastered to the floor with a mixture of sugar, warm water and corn flour. So eco-warriors please don’t worry, it’s all biodegradable.

    This International Festival has its very first poet in residence in the form of familiar face; Toby Thompson. Toby has been returning to Ventnor Fringe most years since his debut in 2011. In 2013 and 2014 Toby came back for our Library Lock In; performing alongside names such as Dizraeli, JJ Bola, Akala, Kate Tempest and Reeps One. You can catch a snippet of Toby in The Parkside  today @ 2pm. 

    Last but by no means least, the premier of Berlioz: Glydebourne (Film) in the Ventnor Arts Club at 6pm. For those not familiar with the operetta, it’s a unique account of Shakespeare’s Much Ado About Nothing by Laurent Pelly

By Catriona Macaulay

Bunting of the Gaudy variety

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Gaudy Bunting, a new, up and coming theatre company from Dorset, are exactly as you’d picture them to be; a theatrical Sue Perkins and Mel Giedroyc. So yes, essentially Perkins and Giedroyc .

Co-founders Hazel Marks and Katharine Piercy established the company whilst studying for their Masters in Devised Performance at the University of Winchester. Their work is devised from a variety of different strategies, personal experiences and skills the duo learnt from conservatoire-based training.

Gaudy Bunting is a warm welcome to Ventnor on a summer’s evening. They truly incorporate fervent qualities that reminded me of two mothers picking their kids up from school. The resemblance is uncanny.

With their elated and bubbly style, they share quite a quirky, broody sense of humour. The “How to Never Forget Anything Ever Again” show takes you on an absurd journey of how our busy lifestyles can affect our ability to remember, well, anything and everything really. Shopping lists, dry cleaning, picking up the kids… If you can remember to name it, you’ve probably forgotten it and it’s too late.

Much to my dismay I have a shockingly terrible memory for the ripe old age of 19. If you can sympathise with me on that, whatever age you are, then this show is definitely one to see this week.

Through comedy, song, dance, and a lot of “splendid!”, Marks and Piercy’s alter egos “Miss Hazel” and “Miss Katherine” explore these ideas at this year’s Ventnor Fringe Festival on 12th and 13th August 8:30pm-9:30pm at Pier St. Playhouse.