The Fringe is a contentious issue for Edinburgh residents. I’ve lived in the city for 11 years and not once have I embraced the crowds, the extended journey times, the pushing, the shoving, the increased volume of dried sick patches on my walk to work in the morning. Something happened in 2017 though, I decided to roll with the punches and actually try to enjoy the vibrant, electric cultural explosion that you can only enjoy in Edinburgh once per annum. Out with festival time, we moan about how quiet Edinburgh is, how uninspired the nightlife is and how little there is to do. When an outsider makes this criticism though, we quickly jump to our city’s defense. It’s only ok when I say it! No, 2017 is the year I finally welcomed the festival with open arms and actually invested time and energy in it. It was well worth it.
I was strategic, only picking shows based on recommendations. Here are the shows I’ve seen so far, what I thought of them and in all cases you should go and see them if you can. You can click out to booking pages from the images or titles. I make things so easy for you, Jesus:
This is a find. A friend saw it in 2016 and recommended it, however the brief commentary on this powerful live interpretation she gave me was intense enough and I chickened out. 2017, the year of a brave new me. I went and I was no less shocked than I thought I would be. Prepare yourself for a visceral performance, incredible acting, nudity and toilet water. I won’t say anymore.
This is pure 90s nostalgia. I went in expecting a modern rehash of the classic show. Imagine my surprise when Clive Anderson walked out on stage, followed my Mike McShane, Greg Proops, Josie Lawrence and Phill Jupitus. Mind, blown. This is so far my highlight of the Fringe. I laughed so hard my face hurt and the involvement of the audience in creating the improv scenarios is brilliant. Prepare to hurt!
Showered with praise at Perth, Melbourne and Adelaide Fringes, it seems fitting that this talented duo sailed (I’m sure they probably flew) over to Scotland to continue their run of Fringe success. I wasn’t really sure what to expect, but what I was presented with was a pair of extremely talented actors / writers, whose comic timing and synchronicity is a wonder to behold and they are armed with nothing by two iphones, two stools and their winning stage personas. Funny, relatable and at times, dark, this explores the relationship between straight men and gay men and the wider perception of gay men (particularly in Australian culture).
This guy is world famous, so you’re probably aware of him by now, unlike me! I went into this with no idea what the hell I was in for. The opening was quirky, to say the least and I was questioning why I’d even sat down. What followed though, was a hilarious onslaught of audience exploitation. If, like me, you have a phobia of the spotlight prepare your nerves because you may well find yourself as the star attraction! Expect dance routines, wigs, golf and the Jackson 5.
This was a very pleasant surprise and best of all, it’s free! Elsie Diamond’s one woman show is a hilarious and heartfelt story of one woman’s ambition and struggle in the world of Burlesque. She’s candid and leaves little to the imagination, giving us a glimpse into the seemingly glamorous world of pre Von Teese stardom. She’s funny, likeable and has an enviable set of pipes on her. Expect laughter, dancing, singing and boobs.
I also saw Jagged Little Singalong and Ruby Wax: Frazzled, however those were only two run shows which have now ended. Sorry ’bout it.