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Held in the basement space of the Nest in Bath, this preview event for Bath Fringe hinted enticingly at what is to come in the forthcoming festival. The rustic surroundings – faded opulence mingles with punk graffiti and shabby (chic?) furniture and paintwork – only added to the intimacy and rawness of this up-close encounter with snippets of four of the shows featured this year.

Highlights included The Red Court, a Macbeth retelling where the scheming wife of a Chinese political figure takes down her British lover thus furthering her grasp and power over ensuing events. Switching between modern prose and the irregular metre of Shakespeare’s original text, The Red Court offers a fascinating concept and interpretation and promises to live up to its national competition win at the Confucius Institute.

Other lovely moments came from Memories We Lost in the Fire, where a fresher negotiates his way through embarking on a long-distance relationship with his girlfriend and meeting his new housemate. Both turn out to have a secret that threatens to change everything. Red Rain creates the potentially excruciating situation of two strangers trapped by the weather in a door way, forced by rain and each other to answer for and examine their life styles.

This year’s Bath Fringe promises to be a varied display of talent offering wit, drama, challenges, questions and commentaries in the way that good art always does.
Alice Perry