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If you want to catch some top new comedy or theatre, but can’t make it up to Edinburgh, then you’d do well to check out this year’s other Fringe festival, right here in London.

The eighth annual Camden Fringe from July 29 to August 25 has more than 180 productions across 17 venues, taking in comedy, dance, theatre and music – sometimes within the one show.

At the fest Rosie Wilby will unveil her new production, Is Monogamy Dead?, in which she peels back her bedclothes to look at what really goes on in our relationships. 


One love: Wilby is among 180 act performing

“There was a whole swathe of break ups among [my] friends, some triggered by infidelity, some by a desire for more freedom, and there were lots of new books which appeared to be rewriting the rules I’d had instilled in me [about relationships],” Wilby says of the inspiration behind her new act. 

“Some were advocating open relationships and polygamy, some affairs, and some were saying changing your partner every two to three years may lead to greater happiness than a life-long commitment – it was a bit of a mind bender!”

Her show looks at how relationships play out in the 21st century, how we view right and wrong differently and, more importantly, the realities of how we really behave. Clue: right and wrong is rarely reflected in people’s actual behaviour. 

Carrying out an anonymous online survey about cheating, Wilby’s findings are surprising, too. “Most couples had not even discussed their respective boundaries,” she says, adding that none of us seem to agree on what constitutes infidelity. “Some people think merely thinking about someone else is a betrayal!”

The notion of monogamy is a far more recent social construct than we might have thought, too. 

“Historically, people used to marry one partner for practical and economic reasons and then have romantic lovers on the side,” she points out.

If relationship-challenging comedy cuts a little too close to the bone, then the Camden Fringe has plenty more shows up its sleeve ready to take you in other directions, such as Geoff Williams’ play Trapped In Abstraction. 


Inner monologue: Geoff Williams goes inside his own head 

“It began with my philosophical interest in the fact we’re all rather isolated in our own heads but feel able to relate to and understand other people,” co-writer and star Williams says of his brain-befuddling work. 

Abstraction is all set inside his own mind and the struggles between him and the voice – named the ‘circus master’ – within his head. It’s “the voice of conscience, antagonism and social conformity,” he explains. 

“I wondered what an auto-biographical piece might have to offer someone other than me, like: why are we at all interested in finding out about other people’s lives and why are celebrities the only people allowed to tell stories about themselves?”

“I’ve been assured I am not insane,” Williams hastens to add. “So you don’t have to worry.”Worried? Us? No way. Intrigued? You better believe it!

 

More Unmissable Camden Fringe>

 

Is Monogamy Dead? Jul 29. £7.  
Camden Head, NW1 0LU.
Trapped In Abstraction, Jul 29 & 30. £7.  

Camden People’s Theatre, NW1 2PY  
Tube | Camden Town  
camdenfringe.com


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Unmissable Camden Fringe: A month-long festival of comedy, dance, theatre and music
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