Sharjah Fringe audiences tasting boundless artistic inventiveness
The 80s Rewind’s beatboxing brilliance and physical wit of Triple Buse opens new doors of imagination and creativity for the young and the old
It is evident from the kind of shows on offer at the ongoing Sharjah Fringe festival (Sharjah Fringe), that the carefully-crafted programme of over 60 staged and roaming street performances has a mission loftier than providing fun and entertainment.
The debut edition of Sharjah Fringe, presented by Sharjah Investment and Development Authority (Shurooq) in strategic partnership with Sharjah Commerce and Tourism Development Authority, is doing an excellent job of showing how creators are pushing the boundaries of performance arts, especially to its younger audience.
The Magnets hit you with the ultimate 80s mixtape, entirely a cappella!
Their 60-minute show is aptly titled ‘The 80s Rewind’ and is hands down some of the best beatboxing you’ve ever witnessed in your life. The Magnets are a 4-voice sound machine, who hail from different parts of the world, but found each other; “Beatboxing is a very small world at this level of professionalism, so there’s only around 20 to 30 people that can do this thing, especially on short notice. So, we just fly in, get together, rehearse and fly out to shows,” says one of the band members Frederick, who is American and has been living in Germany to pursue his musical career.
This fast-paced nostalgia fest of brilliant beatboxing and silk smooth harmonies had the crowds rapt throughout the show, especially those born in the golden decade of the eighties. The Magnets have picked songs that display not just the band’s vocal brilliance, but their jaw-dropping beatboxing range.
From Chaka Khan’s R&B/Soul hit Ain’t Nobody to the theme song of Rocky III – Eye of the Tiger, Oscar-nominated The Power of Love from Back to the Future, and many more, this quartet doesn’t shy away from treating their audience to hair-raising vocal gymnastics.“Scream! Scream louder! Listen, put your hands together. It’s okay to clap,” Frederick teases his audience.
Callum McIntosh, the show’s director and producer, is of Scottish decent and settled in London. He shares a bit of the band’s history, saying, “The Magnets have been going around the world for 20 years now, actually, but this show and this group has only been around since 2015. We’re normally a 5-piece but we thought we’ll try four for Sharjah Fringe”, adding “so this is a lot of sound for four people to create, as you can see.”
Audiences couldn’t agree more with Callum.The finisher is a non-stop 10-minute mishmash of 80s hits encompassing pop, classical, R&B and Hip-Hop, even rock and soul. The Magnets spend no more than 30 seconds on a song and the way they transition song-to-song and across genres is nothing short of a sonic spectacle.
“We only just arrived here but we’re really enjoying Sharjah. People have been very friendly, the food is great and we love the waterfront location of the theatres we’re performing in,” adds Sam, one of The Magnet’s main vocalists from Australia, also settled in London.
The Magnets will perform every day at the West Events Circle Theatre in Al Majaz Waterfront, until Saturday, February 1, and the show must definitely be on your Sharjah Fringe ‘must do’ list. Book your tickets online at www.sharjahfringe.com.
A lovely dose of physical comedy
Think you’ve had your fill of the unknown or uncommon for a day? Not at the Sharjah Fringe. Walk over to Masrah Al Qasba – Theatre in Al Qasba for Triple Buse; a physical theatre production that is ageless in its artistic appeal and successfully elicits lots of giggles through the skilled administration of physical wit.
The three protagonists of this light-hearted play work at a balloon factory, which is brought to life on stage by piles of cardboard boxes that is the show’s main prop. They slowly realise how their mundane life spent beside a production line is draining them of joy. Once the brave one in the group decides to break out of the shackles of his routine existence, the gray scene on stage is completely transformed.
Without the use of words, the play convincingly conveys an important message through colours, fun, lots of physical humour and magic. This light-hearted show leaves the audience feeling uplifted and even wanting to indulge in a little bit of day-dreaming.
Perfect for audiences above the age of five, Triple Buse will be staged every day at 6:30 p.m.on the Masrah Al Qasba Theatre until Saturday, February 1. Tickets can be purchased online at www.sharjahfringe.com.
About Sharjah Fringe Festival
Sharjah Fringe Festival is the first-ever Fringe festival in the UAE and the Middle East, joining a global list of Fringes that are considered among the largest arts and entertainment events globally. Sharjah Fringe is a platform that brings the best of family and children’s theatre and entertainment – which includes dance, music, mime, magic, puppetry, circus acts and other forms of interactive entertainment – from around the world to the emirate.
Sharjah Fringe will run from 16 January – 1February, 2020, with more than 600 shows staged by over 50 artists across four destinations: Al Majaz Waterfront, Al Qasba, The Flag Island and Al Noor Island, alongside roaming street performances.
Sharjah Fringe is presented by Sharjah Investment and Development Authority (Shurooq) in strategic partnership with Sharjah Commerce and Tourism Development Authority.
For more information: www.sharjahfringe.com.