FEATURED DAY OUT BRIGHTON FRINGE AND FESTIVAL Drop everything and head to the coast for festival fun
THE 45th Brighton Festival – the largest in England – brings a wealth of classical and popular music, theatre, dance, circus, visual arts and film, as well as some great outdoor events to the city, with a good dollop of Jewish heritage.
The Jerusalem Quartet and pianist Alexander Melnikov lead the classical music programme at the Corn Exchange, part of the Dome Central complex, where you can also see pianist Steven Osborne.
Pianist Katharina Wolpe, will be among the musicians giving lunchtime recitals at Brighton Dome’s Pavilion Theatre. There is even a concert given by the Hagen Quartet at Glyndebourne.
At the historic Theatre Royal nearby, Spymonkey present their comedy Oedipussy, whilst outdoors at Black Rock Frauke Requardt and David Rosenberg present Motor Show, a large-scale outdoor dance performance.
A free event at Black Rock is Generik Vapeur’s Waterlitz, a mix of aerial ballet and anarchic street theatre whilst Dreamthinkspeak present a meditation on Hamlet, The Rest is Silence at the Malthouse Estate Warehouse, Shoreham.
Alain de Botton discusses Uses of Religion for Non-believers at the Corn Exchange, where you can also see Faber Social, a mixture of words and music featuring Orange Prizewinning novelist Linda Grant.
There is Circus Klezmer at the Theatre Royal, with a quartet of klezmer players accompanying an ensemble of acrobats, trapeze artists, and jugglers.
Among the pop stars is Africa Express Sound System, who entertain the Dome’s Concert Hall and there’s an extension of the Festival to May 29 for Breakin’ Convention 2012, bringing a hip-hop dance theatre there.
An exhibition celebrates the 50th anniversary of the University of Sussex campus at Arts A, Room 109 with Sir David Spence, and Brighton Palermo Remix at the Regency Town House by David Batchelor. This makes a colourful link between Sicilian festival decor and Regency architecture.
The guest Artistic Director is Vanessa Redgrave, and though controversial, she is a great actress.
The children’s programme includes Ailie Cohen Puppet Maker’s Cloud Man, a story to be seen at The Old Market, a nearby arts venue (which also hosts The Book Show restaurant, Equilibrium, is great and Fawsley is one of the best places to experience afternoon tea. My wife loved the tea menu section “for our younger guests”. Bess’s Brasserie, has a wider menu and a great selection of vegetarian options.
The new Spa complex, with an indoor and outdoor pool, is run by Grayshott and is free for all guests.
Ther private cinema also, free to guests, seats about 30 people.
The rooms are set in clusters, on several floors, so there is little outside noise.
The grounds are lovely and justify time to wander around and see the wonderful view through the meadows to the river. with Mariella Frostrup), and an Enid Blyton Book Quiz at the Sallis Benney Theatre.
The Opera Group present Fire, a free but ticketed event at the Dorset Gardens Peace Park, based on texts from the 6th century Jewish poet, Yannai.
Also free is Trolleys, C-12 Dance Theatre & Shaun Parker’s ballet for five shopping trolleys, at Brighton Marina. Street theatre is also free.
Brighton Festival Fringe has at least 670 events, including Lynn Ruth Miller’s Approaching 80, Hayden Cohen’s Age of the Geek, Moonlight Theatre’s take on Berkoff, Putting It Together, a Sondheim Revue by Sussex University Musical Theatre Society, Blonde Poison, the true story by Gail Louw, of Stella Goldschlag who was forced to betray fellow Jews to the Nazis, and A Gershwin Song by Max Gorman.
And as usual Brighton’s historic Synagogue in Middle Street will be open for guided tours.
Among the painters taking part in the Open House Scheme are Orna Schneerson, Leeor Agsmon-fruin and Harvey Daniels.
At nearby Charleston, Hannah Rothschild presents “All That Jazz” and photographer Annie Leibovitz goes on “Pilgrimage”.
Brighton Fringe is expanding to take in the Leicester Square Theatre from May 1 to June 10. It includes Sadie and the Faded Ladies, the children’s group Birdy and the dark-comedy theatre production of All Fingers and Thumbs. Tel: 08448733433 More information: www.brightonfestival.org and brightonfringe.org