Prague Fringe has biggest program ever

The 17th edition of the festival kicks off on May 25 in Malá Strana

This year's edition of the Prague Fringe Festival will run for nine days from May 25 to June 2, with over 240 performances in nine venues in Prague's Malá Strana district. It will be the largest program so far.

The festival includes theater, comedy, cabaret and more, with all of it English-friendly. The event is modeled on the Edinburgh Festival Fringe, which emerged as a showcase for unusual theater performances at atypical venues. Since it developed in the late 1940s, the fringe concept has spread around the world with many acts touring from one country to another.

The Prague Fringe Festival launched in 2002 and is now in its 17th year. It has grown from a few hundred visitors in the first year to some 6,000 last year.

The festival this year presents some award-winning shows by world-renowned authors. British comedy writer Henry Naylor is back for the third year, this time with his brand-new show Games, which premieres here at the festival. It tells a true story about a young Jewish champion fencer who is determined to win an Olympic Gold Medal in Berlin.

Another highlight is Trygve Wakenshaw: Clown Work In Progress. Wakenshaw won awards at the fringe festival in Perth, Adelaide, and Edinburgh for his previous shows. He now brings a new concept to his mime and clowning.

“We are delighted to present our audiences with the world’s top theater makers and performers. We have spent 17 years building up our reputation as a world-class event and this is reflected in the standard of our program this year,” festival founder and director Steve Gove said.

“As well as Henry Naylor’s Games and Trygve Wakenshaw, you can also catch a circus-style physical comedy all the way from Australia about two brothers [titled] Chores, the award-winning Rendered Retina and their Prague debut with the show Form, and the musical sensation Songs of Gays performed by the London Gay Men’s Chorus Ensemble, whose last performance at Prague Fringe was completely sold out,” Gove added.

Shakespeare almost always makes an appearance at Prague Fringe, though seldom in its original form.

“We will also host a new show Hamlet (An Experience), created and performed by three-time Prague Fringe award-winning Emily Carding,” Gove said. She will also be in Caliban's Codex, a new production based on concepts from The Tempest.

The Australian Shakespeare Company will be back, this time with Comedy of Errors.

Shakespeare is not the only classic author to be addressed. Young Oscar; Wilde in San Francisco looks at the famed British author's lecture tour in the US in the 1880s.

Don Quijote in the Storm uses clowning, mime and music plus costumes made of recycled materials to have the famed character face modern issues of climate change and migration.

On the lighter side, there is Twonkey's Night Train To Liechtenstein, which is bound to end in absurdness. Classical stage magic can be found in El Diablo of the Cards.

“We have a colorful palette of shows for all types of people — comedy lovers, families, there are also many ‘Easy English’ productions for visitors whose English is not perfect. All of these will be held in our unique venues in Malá Strana which we can’t wait to occupy with world-renowned productions for nine whole days,” Gove concluded.

Visitors have the opportunity to see a snippet of many of the shows during Fringe Sunday. At this free event, there will be one-minute previews of many of the shows in the program. This year Fringe Sunday will be held May 27 from 2.30 pm at La Loca Music Bar & Lounge in Mosaic House.

Families will also have plenty of options, with many high-quality projects suitable for children.

After last year’s successful pilot, the free one-hour Family Fringe showcase event will be held Saturday, May 26, from 2.30 pm also at La Loca.

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