Prague Fringe celebrates 21 years of English-language theater in 2022

The festival this year lasts only six days and will bring back many favorite performers with new shows, as well as some completely new acts.

Expats.cz Staff

Written by Expats.cz Staff Published on 15.09.2022 13:17:00 (updated on 23.09.2022) Reading time: 3 minutes

The 21st edition of the Prague Fringe festival takes place between Sept. 26 and Oct. 1 at five venues in Malá Strana. Audiences will be able to see award-winning offbeat theater productions in English from 28 theater companies from all over the world. There are not only dramas but also comedies and music.

The shows each run for about an hour and ticket prices have been kept affordable, so people can see more than one show per night.

Henry Naylor in
Henry Naylor in "Afghanistan is Not Funny." Photo via Prague Fringe.

Several popular performers are returning for this year’s edition. Award-winning writer and performer Henry Naylor, will present his new show “Afghanistan is Not Funny,” a true story based on his trip he took to that war-torn country in 2002. The show has played to sold-out audiences at several fringe festivals including Edinburgh.

The website Scottish Field called it a “wonderful and powerful production” that asks difficult questions and leaves the audience in silent introspection. “Naylor pulls off a complicated and difficult subject with great skill,” the review states. It also had several five-star reviews in Adelaide, with Glam Magazine calling it “superb theatre [that] tells the story of a hopeless war with compassion, empathy, and some humour.”

Another returning star is Emily Carding with her new sci-fi show “Quintessence.” The solo show finds an AI robot tasked with re-creating humanity using Shakespeare as a guide. The show won the Outstanding Theatre Award at the Brighton Fringe. The website FringeReview.co.uk called it “quite magical” and praised the various interpretations of famous characters.

A master of one-man shows, Pip Utton is back after his sell-out run at the 2021 Autumn Fringe where he did monologues dressed as Margaret Thatcher and Winston Churchill. This time he takes on film director Alfred Hitchcock and painter Francis Bacon.

Pip Utton as Francis Bacon. Photo via Prague Fringe.
Pip Utton as Francis Bacon. Photo via Prague Fringe.

His shows try to present complex pictures of people that challenge the preconceived notions that the audience may already have.

For people looking for some pure fun, there is the Brazilian card magician El Diablo of the Cards. His shows are for small groups, and almost always sell out. There is a lot of audience participation, and El Diablo truly loves to interact with the audience. You will be left truly wondering how the tricks were done.

El Diablo of the Cards. Photo via Prague Fringe.
El Diablo of the Cards. Photo via Prague Fringe.

For families, there is Jon & Ollie offer their new show “Strictly Come Barking.” The physical comedy piece sees a lonely old man and a homeless dog try their skills at ballroom dancing.

Edinburgh Festivals Magazine said it had “one hilarious moment after another.” The duo is two-thirds of the troupe The Latebloomers were at the festival in 2018 with “Scotland!”

Jon & Ollie in
Jon & Ollie in "Strictly Come Barking." Photo via Prague Fringe.

Ireland’s Acting Out returns with a tale of love and revenge called “Best Served Cold.” A chance meeting at a bar and a simple prank spin out of control and the audience is kept guessing by all the plot twists.

The duo of Nathan & Ida chime in with the strange drama "Tempus Fugit," where they play characters trapped in an enchanted cuckoo clock. They were previously at the Fringe with the charming retro story "Nathan & Ida’s Hot Dog Stand."

An LGBT+ themed show takes on the Harry Potter series in “Reclaiming Harry.” Rich Watkins has won several awards and praise for this take of finding a new author for the well-known characters. Lauren Mercier’s “Dear Donor” also tackles LGBT+ topics such as sperm donation and being a lesbian parent.

You can find an evening of musical hits and personal stories with Jamie Marshall playing “Acoustic Soul.” The setlist will include Arthur Alexander, Marvin Gaye, Otis Redding, and others. Marshall was a member of Don McLean’s touring band and is now based in Prague.

Nicholson & Gore. Photo via Prague Fringe.
Nicholson & Gore. Photo via Prague Fringe.

More music can be heard in “Gone Edinburgh,” with Nicholson & Gore tackling traditional Scottish songs.

There are more shows on the schedule with performers from Finland, Macau, Ukraine, and the U.S. Some shows are only performing for two or three nights and some venues are quite small, with 20 to 30 seats, so booking tickets in advance is recommended.

Tickets are Kč 220 in advance or Kč 250 at the door. Student and senior discounts are only available for advance purchases. There is also a festival pass available. Information on more ways to support the festival is on the website.

The Prague Fringe Festival began in 2001. It is modeled on the Edinburgh Festival Fringe, which has roots going back to 1947 when several theater groups turned up uninvited for the Edinburgh International Festival. Those groups performed in ad-hoc venues on the “fringes” of the official festival.

Over the years, the Edinburgh Festival Fringe has grown into the world's largest arts festival, and an international network of similar fringe festivals now exists to showcase short, often hard-to-classify theater pieces.

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