With 50,459 performances of 3,314 shows in 313 venues across Scotland’s capital city, the Edinburgh Fringe truly is biggest festival of its kind anywhere in the world. Showcasing brand new work from artists, companies and entertainers from across the globe, success (or lack of) at the festival can make or break careers.
I have been fortunate enough to visit the fringe for sixteen consecutive years, in which I try to see as much as possible in one week – literally running from one venue to the next, seeking out new and exciting theatre, music and comedy.
In 2012 Dr Brown received the Edinburgh Comedy Award for his show Befredth, which previewed at Arlington Arts that July. Subsequently there has been an encouraging growth in highly playful and hilarious comedy/theatre shows without words. Notably Trygve Wakenshaw’s Nautilus, which I’m sure, will be up for a nomination for an award this year.
The day after seeing Nautilus, I managed to catch Henry Maynard in Tatterdemalion (which has already received a number of 5-Star reviews). It is brilliantly good fun – a friend and student of Phil Burgers (Dr Brown), Maynard captures that inventive sense of playfulness, innocence and mild malevolence which makes his show a wildly entertaining hour of sheer joy – roll on 19 November at Arlington Arts.
I stayed up late to see Will Seaward’s Ghost Stories (midnight at the Gilded Balloon). Will’s natural charm and rich, deep voice has had him described as the love child of Stephen Fry and Brian Blessed. His show is great fun and creepy at the right moments, making it a perfect advent to Halloween when it comes to us in late October.
I spent a good deal of time at The Summerhall, which has fast established itself as a hub for contemporary performance at the fringe. In fact StopGap dance are scheduled to perform Artificial Things there during the last week of the festival, before bringing it here in October.
Sited at Summerhall was Paines Plough’s ingenious pop-up venue The Roundabout, in which I saw Lungs, a captivating, tender two-hander about the dilemmas of modern living, modern relationships and parenthood. Also in the Roundabout were Jonny and the Baptists, who played here last spring, their new show about global warming is doing very well, so I’d hope to welcome them back soon.
Jonny was also performing solo in Every Brilliant Thing, which will, along with Lungs, The Human Ear and Our Teacher’s a Troll be moving with The Roundabout, to The Corn Exchange (9-13 September). I would thoroughly recommend a visit.
With everything that we have between Arlington Arts and The Corn Exchange, I would say we have the pick the Fringe coming to Newbury – but then with the Fringe being the size it is, there’s always the next big thing just around the corner waiting to be discovered…
by Tony Trigwell-Jones