There are more than 1,000 acts during any day at the Fringe, and this is rather low estimate.
The Edinburgh Fringe Festival came to a close last week with the last of the winners of various categories announced just a few days ago. Not quite knowing what to expect at the Fringe , it was rather overwhelming being surrounded by literally thousands of performers begging, pleading, cajoling or screaming for your attention. Even with the heavy rain, the crowd continue to build on the first day I arrived. Think O week before university started with clubs and societies on the hunt for new members, then multiply that buzz in the air a thousand time. Curiously I rarely heard a Scottish accent during my short time here, it seemed like the entire city was invaded by southerners.
I was rather disorganised when it comes to researching who to watch and decided to follow the rest of the group, deviating here and there to watch a random show. I remembered thinking that there was no way a sane person can read the entire guidebook and not be overwhelmed by the variety of what’s available, from comedies, drama, dance and everything in between.
It doesn’t help that every show happily proclaimed that they were a four or five rated by some reviewer that I have never heard of! One thing I do love about the Fringe is the fact anyone can bring their show. There is no selection process by the Fringe Society, as long as the venue that the performer approached agree to stage them and the performer does all the required admin to be listed, the show will go on. What I should have done is kept my eyes on venues such as the Underbelly, the Assembly or Pleasance Courtyard and buy any tickets I can. These three venues are quite well known for attracting interesting/ big name acts and the shows that I managed to catch there did not disappoint.
So what did I see? There was the Castle Rocks Breakdance Championship 2009, I didn’t realise that break dancing was still happening. The Roundhouse’s production of Your Number’s Up, a surprising drama set in Camden with a very clever structure and ending. There was lots and lots of walking in between to reach venues. I love Edinburgh I think it’s very grand, but by the tenth time of crosing the bridge and walking all the way up to reach the Royal Mile I cursed the town planners who built an entire city on a hillside.
Oh and because we couldn’t help it, we watched some Australian comedians. Notably Adam Hills pictured below tying a rather unfortunate audience member named Scot (who’s a Scotsman!) with a length of floss found on stage.
Following his on stage promotion, I bought a ticket to watch Hannah Gadsby, an up and coming story teller comedian from Tasmania. It might seem silly to go all the way to the other side of the world and watch Australian comedians, but there was something about watching local talents make it big so far away that made me feel all warm and fuzzy. It made me realise that next time the Melbourne Comedy Festival is on, I really should make the effort to go down south rather than let another year go by. Oh and if sleep is not needed, the Late Show at the Underbelly is a definite one to watch. I can’t remember the name of the first guy we watched, an flannel wearing American who handled hecklers beautifully. If anyone knows who performed on the 15th of August on the Late Show, let me know!