This past month I was given the opportunity to visit Orlando, Florida on a skills exchange with the Orlando International Fringe Theatre Festival.
For those of you who don’t know it, the Orlando Fringe is the oldest Fringe Festival in the USA, checking in at a still youthful 23 years old. And like many 23 year olds, it’s healthy, it’s hot and it’s horny as hell.
Having spent the best part of a week acclimatising to the heat (most days it’s been 35 degrees centigrade, yesterday it hit 43), this pasty chubby man from Scotland couldn’t wait to get into the brilliantly air conditioned theatre spaces to see some work; some that showed great promise, and others that to be honest didn’t even touch the sides of my interests. But I was wrong about the latter with the calibre of work of many artists being genuinely world class.
37 shows later, I’m leaving Orlando with rejuvenated inspiration.
I love theatre. I love comedy. I love dance.
I now love the Orlando Fringe.
Some of the best work I’ve seen in years emerged over the past 14 days and I’m proud to say that there was only one stinker. And I’m far too nice to name and shame.
Both shows really hit home with fairly political messages, and both performers made really brave decisions on some of their content. If you like your humour with a side of clenching in your seat, make sure to hunt them down and see these shows which I’m sure will be touring the world in the coming year.
I’ll be back blogging proper style next week, but in the meantime; make sure when you are scheduling your next trip to Universal Studios, that you make it happen in May. Because Orlando Fringe is one of America’s best-kept secrets, and I promise you, you will have the time of your life.
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Barry Church-Woods is a perfect homosexual living in Edinburgh, Scotland with his civil partner Josef. He works for the largest arts festival in the world and makes a martini so dirty it would make Margaret Cho blush. He’s currently lording it at the Orlando Fringe. Today he smells of Armani Diamond and SPF50.