Best of the Fest

Words by Chris Challis

Image: Adrian Thaws

The Brighton Festival is in full flow with award-winning writer Ali Smith as Guest Director, and we’ve already been enjoying a wide-range of quality performances, impressive visual art installations and thought-provoking debates across the city. With two weeks to go, we’ve picked our top shows you simply cannot miss!

Roundabout-THE-INITIATE-cutThe UK’s national theatre of new plays, Paines Plough bring their award-winning pop-up theatre Roundabout to Regency Square for the duration of Brighton Festival. Featuring a cast in rep, four different shows – Lungs, The Initiative, Every Brilliant Thing and the deliciously wicked children’s show Our Teacher’s A Troll – will be performed in rotation throughout May.
2 – 24 May, Regency Square, tickets from £8

The Hallé
Manchester’s award-winning orchestra heads to the south coast conducted by its music director Sir Mark Elder. Performing the likes of Janáček’s suite from The Cunning Little Vixen and Shostakovich’s sprightly Concerto for Piano, Trumpet and Strings Op. 35, the orchestra is joined by BRIT Award-winning pianist Benjamin Grosvenor and the city’s very own Brighton Festival Chorus.
23 May, Brighton Dome Concert Hall, tickets from £10

He’s an artist who constantly avoids labels and refuses classification. Now musician Tricky – whose real name Adrian Thaws is also the title of his eleventh studio album – brings his inventive sound and equally as creative live show to Brighton for what promises to be a darkly unpredictable night of tripped out beats and brooding bass.
23 May, Brighton Dome Corn Exchange, tickets from £10

The Duke of Burgundy with live soundtrack from Cat’s Eyes
Fresh from releasing their critically acclaimed soundtrack to Peter Strickland’s homage to 1970s erotica The Duke of Burgundy, Cat’s Eyes – aka The Horrors’ own Faris Badwan and composer Rachel Zeffira – perform the entire album in a one-off live screening of the film itself.
22 May, Brighton Dome Concert Hall, tickets from £10

The Sagas of Noggin the Nog
The cult children’s TV show gets its very own stage adaptation some 56 years since it was first broadcast on the BBC. Incorporating puppetry, music, film and a whole heap of Vikings, step into a world of Norse mischief as our titular hero – alongside chum Thor Nogson and the huge green bird Graculus – battle the terrifying Ice Dragon and hopefully thwart Nogbad the Bad’s wicked plans!
23 – 24 May, Theatre Royal Brighton, tickets from £5

The Forgotten / L’Oublie(e)
Sitting somewhere between circus, dance, theatre and cinema – in keeping with one of Brighton Festival’s key themes this year; the crossing places between art forms – Raphaëlle Boitel’s truly stunning aerial work will leave you amazed at what the body can do in flight. Both profound and fantastic, this is contemporary circus at its very best.
19 & 20 May, Brighton Dome Concert Hall, tickets from £10 

The Measure of Things
Loosely inspired by the Guinness Book of Records and featuring a series of portraits of record-breaking people, this ‘live documentary’ from Academy Award-nominated filmmaker Sam Green seeks to explore the human experience; from the world’s tallest man to the woman with the longest fingernails. Accompanied by live music from acclaimed chamber group yMusic, it received an ‘official selection’ laurel from Sundance Film Festival 2014.23 & 24 May, The Old Market, tickets from £10

For full programme details, visit