Brighton Fringe – Tell Me Why

Tell Me Why at Ironworks Studio, Brighton, 21st May 2022

Almost exactly a year ago I went along to see one of the Fringe shows I was booked to photograph, an extravaganza of costume and song called Tell Me Why. Taking a journey through queer culture over the years, I was struck by how much effort had been poured into making the show happen, despite Covid restrictions and lack of funding, a true labour of love.

So twelve months on, lottery funding approved, a new venue and a new set secured, how would things look this year? It proved such a pleasure to be back to see on one hand the difference, and on the other the same vein of commitment to the cause running strongly through the whole show.

Brought to life by Mr Venus and the NoAgEnDeR collective, the outfits were fantastic, the soundtrack filled with original music coupled with tunes still so evocative of various eras and memories – McLaren’s Madame Butterfly and Shelley’s Homosapien amongst the mix. And contemplate for a second if you will the jeopardy of partnering six inch heels with a revolving stage; if that doesn’t impress you nothing will. Thankfully no ankles were harmed in the making of the show, kudos to all involved.

Throughout all the stunning visuals though, a reminder that over the years and even now, communities are and have been marginalised purely because of their beliefs, their sexuality, the colour of their skin. A message of solidarity and support, a shout out that this isn’t and never was OK and that there is a place in society for everyone, however they present.

Tell Me Why is a celebration of diversity; its success a testament to all the hard work that’s gone into making it happen and all those who believed in it. A makeover to be proud of.

Words and photos by Siobhan

25th May 2022


Breaking Glass Magazine – July 2021

Breaking Glass Magazine – June 2021

Cover image Alfie Ordinary presenting Now That’s What I Call Bingo at Spiegeltent for Brighton Fringe © 16 Beasley St Photography 

Despite ongoing restrictions, Brighton Fringe has once again pulled together a great range of shows in venues big and small across the city. Things may have been socially distanced but that didn’t detract from the performances, and the audience appreciation was clear to see. Check out our gallery of favourite productions below…

Make Up by NoLogoProductions at The Rialto

The Night Circus Cabaret at Sabai Pavilion

Dressing up Dietrich by Patricia Hartshorne at the New Steine Hotel

The Boys from The Chorus by Brighton Gay Men’s Chorus at St Nicholas Church 

The Lady in The Van by Sarah Mann Company at Brighton Open Air Theatre

Tell Me Why by NoAgEnDeR at One Church 

Warhol: Bullet Karma by Garry Roost at The Rialto 

Now That’s What I Call Bingo with Alfie Ordinary at Spiegeltent 

Electric Cabaret at Chalk 

Words and photos by Siobhan

1st July 2021







Breaking Glass Magazine – June 2021

Breaking Glass Magazine – June 2021

Cover image © 16 Beasley St Photography 

After an intrinsically difficult year for the arts, it’s great to see the buzz around the full variety of this year’s Brighton Fringe, the largest open-access arts festival in England. Welcoming all forms of art and expression, the city’s venues open up their doors to both new and established performers, offering a diverse showcase of talent across multiple genres.

Kicking off our Fringe experience in flamboyant style, Tell Me Why sees its debut at One Church with a dazzling display of sound and vision. Masterminded by creative director Mr Venus and produced by collective NoAgEnDeR, the show chronicles ‘life outside the mainstream and how it really was for marginalised individuals finding and fighting for their rights’, taking the audience on an ‘emotional roller coaster ride through queer life over the last 50 years’.

Laying bare the sometimes devastating impact of exclusion, the show nonetheless takes the opportunity to mark the historical fight for the right to self-expression and acceptance, and celebrates the lives of friends and loved ones lost along the way, a scenario likely to resonate and bring memories of their own to anyone attending.

Musically, the show is packed with anthems galore, a mix of original compositions and momentous songs from different eras. Things bode well when, on arrival, you’re greeted with a lyric print of Pete Shelley’s Homosapien on each table, a track excluded from radio airplay in the UK in the early 80s for its supposed reference to gay sex. As a solo artist and Buzzcocks’ vocalist, Shelley proved himself to be perhaps the most punk of them all, penning songs about love and relationships amidst his peer group’s cries of anarchy and oppression. 

Elsewhere, a meta moment for me as Blackman from Breaking Glass features, prompting me to rewatch the film which, despite the name, I haven’t seen for many years. The inclusion of another favourite, Suede’s Beautiful Ones is a fitting addition to the fanfare and costumery of the night and the stories it tells.

A heartfelt look back at queer culture through the years, Tell Me Why is clearly a labour of love from all involved and is really what The Fringe and inclusivity are all about – a group of friends with something to say, supporting each other to make the dream a reality and share the project on stage. Work is in progress to produce a documentary about the making of the show; let’s hope this sees the light of day and the sharing continues.

You can find more about Tell Me Why here

Words and photos © Siobhan

1st June 2021

Breaking Glass Magazine – November 2020

Breaking Glass Magazine – November 2020

Cover image Moj Taylor performing Make-Up at Brighton Fringe
© 16 Beasley St Photography

After what has felt like the longest absence, it’s been a blessing to have live performance back, albeit it briefly and in a socially distanced fashion. Just as events across the UK have begun to creep back, the brakes are about to be applied again nationally after numerous local lockdowns. Brighton Fringe, renowned for its eclectic mix of theatre, comedy and spoken word, made a later in the year than usual appearance throughout October, having had to postpone its regular May spot. With artists and venues taking huge measures to keep things safe, there has at least been an opportunity for some performers and writers to debut new work to audiences.

The diversity of its programme is what makes The Fringe such an exciting prospect for all ages. The photos below show poetry and comedy from Kieran Hearty and Victoria Melody (top row) for Lava Elastic who run a regular neurodiverse night at Sweet Werks in Brighton. London troupe Let’s All Dance brought ballet to Alice in Wonderland and there was shadow puppetry in Anytime the Wind can Change from The New Shadow Cabinet (second row), both at Brighton Open Air Theatre. Any suitable venue can be transformed and a topical protest performance of Savage Beauty from Actors of Dionysus took place in a garden (third row). The header and final images are from Make-Up by No Logo Productions back at Sweet Werks, the story of a drag artist reflecting on their life and family relationships. The variety of shows on offer has been excellent and a very welcome escape, despite all the restrictions in place; fingers crossed that they will be able to deliver their full complement in 2021.

A huge shout out goes to everyone involved in supporting the arts whether through live shows, online streams, fundraising, promotion, performing or all the behind the scenes stuff that pulls everything together. For now, stay safe and look after everyone around you so we can get this back soon.

Words and photos © Siobhan

1st November 2020

Brighton Fringe – A Trip to Wonderland

Alice in Wonderland (The Ballet) at Brighton Open Air Theatre, 3rd October 2020

In a year that truly has been ‘curiouser and curiouser’, it seemed fitting to take a step back into the world of live shows by rediscovering my inner child watching a balletic performance of Alice in Wonderland.

Postponed from its usual springtime slot in May, Brighton Fringe is currently putting on a diverse programme of events in socially distanced settings and it’s great to see theatre, dance and comedy on the city’s agenda once again.

At the weekend, London based Let’s All Dance made good on their promise of ’bringing the magic of dance to everyone’ with their trip to Wonderland, telling a familiar tale through a new medium for many and making ballet accessible to all ages with instantly recognisable characters, colourful costumes and a sprinkling of humour. The choreography made the dance look effortless, the children in the audience were mesmerised and the adults no doubt appreciated the addition of a liberal dose of hand sanitiser to the Mad Hatter’s spread of tea and Eat Me cake. It was heart warming to hear small voices around me gasp as Alice appeared twice as tall on hidden stilts and excitedly telling their parents, ‘I saw the white rabbit!’ in what, for some, may have been their first experience of live performance. At 40 minutes long, Let’s All Dance have really considered what works within the attention span of little ones and ensured that the show is entertaining for all ages. Brighton Open Air Theatre provided the perfect backdrop and, in an unexpected twist, the sun shone all afternoon.

2020 is very much the year when, if Alice were to utter, ‘Why, sometimes I’ve believed as many as six impossible things before breakfast’, everyone else would probably agree. Leaving the worries of the world aside for a while, an escape to Wonderland was just what was needed.

You can find Let’s All Dance here, including details of further shows this year. The full Brighton Fringe schedule is on their website now.

Words and photos by Siobhan
6th October 2020