Fringe Review

Lonely Hearts Column

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  • Female
  • Early 30s
  • Generously bespectacled
  • 5’2″
  • Gemini 

Seeks male between the ages of 24 ½  and 39 ¾ years.

Must have a love of bubonic plague documentaries, knitwear and sandwiches.

Shakespearian actors NEED APPLY NOW.

To reply, please visit the artist registration window at Ventnor Exchange and declare your love in the form of haiku. 

Fringe’s Frock of the Day

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Bringing us memories of pastel blue skies and crisp pink sunsets, Jordan Royl had no competition for Tuesday’s best dressed ‘Fringer’. her harlequin-esque over the knee dress looked to be a true vintage treasure, but upon further interrogation Jordan gave us the low down on how her fancy frock came to be. “Masqueryde”, a old school fancy dress shop in Ryde was the home of this fabulous £8 bargain – yes  £8! So there we go fringers, Tuesday’s top tip – never ever dismiss the fancy dress shop, it could be a gold mine for your next fabulous fashion find!


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Rain deterred not one bystander among the many Fringe friends yesterday evening.

A short but sweet rundown of VFRINGE so far and hello and how are all from Festival director, Jack Whitewood. This was then followed by a surprise performance. If you missed it here’s the lowdown…

Artist and organiser of the Undecided Art Collective, Rachael Berry, along with Ventnor’s own Laura Reid (of The Ventnor Darlings) performed a new release. Kindly created for yours truly, we are very grateful for that spontaneous set as we now have our 2015 podcast and review show jingle! Better yet we have all your lovely voices cheering away too.

The evening was filled with the warm fringe-tastic feeling this festival seems to curiously create. 

Then a stunning set by our own Poppy Janella; a writer, performer, radio interviewer and fashion guru. #poppydoeseverything #PFRINGE

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. 


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It’s that time of year folks, let’s get on down and have ourselves a good ole’ fashioned hoe down. The barn dance will be held tomorrow at Pier Street Playhouse from 3.30pm – no experience necessary! The wonderful Karen Tweed & The Dustbin Corner Ceilidh Band shall provide the music and get you up off your haunches for some no holds barred barnstompin’ mayhem. An optional, heartily encouraged fancy dress shall take place under the theme of Shipwrecks and Sailors – the world is your oyster! Prizes for under 8s, under 16s and over 16s.

Help Me, Agony Can’t!

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My boyfriend’s really into music and wants to go touring with his band but I want to go touring with my Puppet Theatre Group, what shall I do?

It’s a tricky decision, I feel your pain.

A music career in this day and age is, undoubtedly, profitable at this current time. If you were to go on tour with your boyfriend you could live the modern rock and roll lifestyle of drugs, pugs and sausage rolls. The tour could take you to popular music venues in areas like Hackney or Shoreditch. But more than likely you’ll end up breaking up with your boyfriend and asking for more advice from an Agony Aunt.

However a life of marionettes sounds interesting. No one would string you along per se and you would be in complete control. Before you know it you’ll be on Britain’s Got Talent wowing the judges with your individual act and maybe, just maybe, the Royal Variety show.

Either way you’ll be living the dream. My advice would be following the road that makes you most happy, not one that will make you money. And remember, a puppet is for life, not just for Christmas.

Bugger it, I’ll join you on your marionette quest. Ditch the boyfriend; I’ll be your girlfriend while we’re at it.

Hollie Gayes, Fringe Agony Aunt



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From the belly of Texas comes this all American singer song-writer.

Beautifully harrowing and witty American tales sang along to the all too pleasing soft tones of an acoustic guitar.

The modern tales of American life as it is known today. Kiya Heartwood has found fame among her many followers and has led a very interesting life.

It was during her time at college when she was playing with a band called Radio Café that Kiya got her first break. Herself and drummer, Kopana Terry, were sought out and signed by Castle Records; this is where we find the inception of Stealin’ Horses.  

With the band, Stealin’ Horses, Kiya found rock music fame. Their time with Castle records was short until the band found themselves stuck in the no-man’s land of a bidding war between 17 different record labels. This battle was finally won by Arista.

To give you some idea of Kiya’s career, back in 1987 she and her band played at South by Southwest Festival, for those that aren’t aware SXSW Festival is kind of a big deal in America (and the rest of the world).

A year later Stealin’ Horses was featured on an album with names such as Russ Kunkel, Toto and Neil Young! The band then went on tour across the US and Canada with various different bands, some of which were Level 42, The Stray Cats and James Brown.   

Stealin’ Horses disbanded in 1993 which was the year that Kiya brought out her first solo album, True Frontier. And so we have it, since 1993 she has been blazing the various trails of the world with her solo career and this week has hung her hat in Ventnor.   

This will awaken the country singer within. I have often (more than I should admit) imagined myself on the back of an American Quarter Horse playing my cord acoustic. Though the reality of this feat would without a doubt have me skidding the floor on my backside with one foot in the stirrup and guitar nowhere to be seen. I just REALLY want to be an American country singer, alas my Angelo-Saxon blood will not have it.   

“An award-winning American singer-songwriter who writes smart, funny and poignant songs about the famous and not-so-famous legends of America” – Edinburgh Fringe 2014

Kiya Heartwood is playing this evening and tomorrow at 8.15pm in Ventnor Arts Club. 

A Trip Down Memory Lane…

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A trip down memory lane…

Some may recall that last year the Fringe Team finally got the keys to their new pad, the Ventnor Exchange. This was all very exciting last year, but last year Ventnor Exchange was a mere shell of what it is now.

It’s surprising what a bit of re-wiring, gutting, shuffling, a lick of paint and twelve months can do for a venue. They’ve even painted the front of the shop for you lovely ladies and gentlemen (by no way anything to do with the masses of people pleading them to do so).

What about the interior?

Well you’ll have to come and judge that for yourself but I assure you there will be neither fallen plaster nor a magnolia wall in sight (exclude the hallway: come on, they’re trying). You will however find the largest collection of new release vinyl available to purchase on the Island along with the widest selection of craft beers to darken Ventnor’s shores.

My personal recommendation would be their espresso martini, delicious and made with an Island roast no less. If you’re not a fan of alcoholic euphoria I would still suggest the coffee, an award winning level of hot drink from the Isle of Wight…

‘This isn’t just coffee this is Isle of Wight coffee.’  

It’s Vaguely Sunny

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An interview with VFringe veteran, all round legend and founder of Vaguely Sunny, Vic King…

Q. For those who don’t know, what is ‘Vaguely Sunny’? 

A. It’s an organisation. Well I say that, that makes it sound a bit grand. It’s a partnership of a small amount of people. We’ve been around for just short of 20 years.

We started by writing a book about the history of rock music on the Island. It came out in 1995 but was only done as limited edition which sold old out quite quickly so since the year after that we basically became music promoters. We mainly put on small-ish acoustic style gigs although we can branch out into other areas. We’ve put on plays, operas various other things, lectures, but the acoustic gig is the main theme that we do. Two examples of which we’re doing at the fringe, those are two typical Vaguely Sunny gigs.

Q. Why did you choose to call the organisation Vaguely Sunny?

A. I think if we sat around all day we’d never of chosen it! Luckily, and it’s a Ventnor story. When we did the book it was published under the business name ‘Isle of Wight Rock Archives’. If you’re putting up a poster, which we started to do, it’s not a great name for a promoter – people thought we were geologists or something!

So we were looking for a more snappy name, and while at Salisbury Gardens (then a council office), where I worked with a lovely lady called Lynn Clark. One day she was on the phone to someone asking about the weather, and after looking out the window she replied “well, vaguely sunny” and I thought Ah, that’s the name! It suits the weather, people’s personalities… We like the name! Lynn’s the originator of it, which we still remind her of.

Q. What inspired you to start Vaguely Sunny?

A. It’s all coming back to me now; doing this book gave us some money to work with. Now looking back at the end of 1995 there was little live music, nothing like the fringe back then, no hope of the Isle of Wight Festival coming back, no national bands coming around.

But the council published a document that set out what they want to do with planning etc. There was a clause tucked in somewhere saying there should be a permanent festival site- that was unusual as there were attempts in the mid 90’s to get the festival back but it was all very negative.

The applications were turned down largely because of, surprisingly, effects on tourism. Every time something big like that was proposed, people got scared and worried about drugs and sent letters of objection. So we thought let’s try to get people to send letters of support so we put this gig on at Newport FC in 1996 to flag up the issue. It was with Island bands and it when quite well and we’ve been doing it ever since.

Q. When did you first hear about the fringe?

A. We’re Fringe veterans, we heard about it a year before it started! Mhairi used to put on gigs as part of the Country Club. She helped us put on a gig for a Brading duo we were working with called the Adventurers. They wanted to tour the Island on bikes with a little trailer behind towing their instruments but it didn’t work out as there was far too much cycling!

I remember she said there was this chap called Jack Whitewood and he’s going to start something called the Ventnor Fringe, so I thought that sounded really interesting, and so it has been!

Q. How did you sell the idea of the Fringe to this year’s artists, Boo Herwerdine and the folk duo Josienne Clark & Ben Walker?

A. Boo has been here before so he knew who we were and what he was dealing with. With Josienne Clark & Ben Walker, that was interesting as for the first time I was involved in programming Rhythmtree Festival- which I thought would suit them well. Just after I thought why not book them for the Fringe? Artists like the idea of coming here, they’re well looked after, it’s a slightly different Festival and the idea of coming (to the island) is always appealing.

Q. What are you looking forward to at this year’s fringe?

A. Tuesday is our day, looking forward to The Millennium Plays, and a couple musicians we know, Mark Hickman & Karen Tweed, afterwards. And I can’t not mention Undecided! I think they’re a crazy bunch but really original work; really looking forward to Undecided.

Q. What’s next in the pipeline for Vaguely Sunny?

A. Ah, it’s quite an ambitious thing that we got asked to help with last year and went really well. It’s the Harp Festival in Ryde, 7th-11th October; just music of the harp any connection with the harp, jazz, Scottish music. Got people from America, someone from Senegal and lectures- takes a lot of work but good fun.

Q. Any thoughts as to bring out a second album of Island Music?

A. Wouldn’t think so, how Island music has organised itself since then (the first album released in 2000); everybody’s got much more scope to put stuff out now. It’s not priority at the moment.

Q. What are you currently listening to?

A. Changes all the time! Just come back from Conway, Ireland, where there’s a big arts festival and some bands gave me CDs, [including] a quirky band called My Fellow Sponges, so listening to that… Digging out some Boo Herwerdine; my taste can change, I’m a bit fickle!

Q. If you were stranded on a desert island, what would be the one thing you would have?

A. Record player! Some means of playing music, it would help the frustration.

Q. Any advice for young people looking at the music industry?

A. Keep all the music yourself, keep control of all the stuff yourself, do the music at your own speed. Keep control of it don’t give it a way to some nasty shark whose going to make a million and you won’t.

By Evan Wragg

I’m Just Here For The Boos

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I had a big old row with the girlfriend last night I’m afraid to inform. Plates were flying, doors were slammed, it was awful, it really was. Luckily in the end she finally admitted we’ve got a poltergeist.

The Royal National Hospital was located in the same place as our Botanical Gardens are situated now and was opened in 1867 to deal with tuberculosis and other chest diseases. The climate of the area was an important factor in its choice of location and the hospital continued its vital work rehabilitating patients for over a century, until advances in medicine and the decline in these diseases resulted in its closure and demolition in 1969. ~ INSERT MOON LANDING CONSPIRACY HERE~

There are several accounts of demolition men and contractors of the old building being left as trembling husks after being “badly affected” by a secret voyeur they could sense but never see.

The terrifying accounts of evil spirits terrorising the grounds became so extreme that an official report was written up. There were numerous pleads for either the Anglican or Roman Catholic Church to investigate the area and to expel any undesirables but the exorcism was supposedly never performed. Several further accounts came to light before the demolition was completed in July 1969.

If you happen to be in the area be extra cautious not to rile up any of our incarcerated native souls, we really can’t be held accountable for their actions.

Huh? A sceptic are you? Well it just so happens that this ruggedly attractive, devilishly charming writer just happened to see one only the other day.

It was just outside the Botanical Gardens en route to St Lawrence when I came across a dead baby ghost. Actually on reflection that very well could just have been the handkerchief I dropped, I guess we’ll never know. In the words of TV hunk and cult idol David Duchovny, THE TRUTH IS OUT THERE.