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Edinburgh Fringe Festival - what did you like?

My time in Edinburgh takes place during the Fringe Festival and I’m wondering if anyone here has taken part in the events, activities and maybe could give me some pointers as this will be my first time in the city and experiencing the festival. I didn’t start out planning to take part. My initial idea to visit was to see the Military Tatoo (have tickets for 8/27). I have bookmarked the fringe festival website and perused some of the walks and various entertainment on offer, other than the street entertainers. Some I am interested in are: Ben Hart Wonder magic and comedy, Bette Midler tribute, Underbelly and Circa Circus, and James Bond musical tribute. Do you have some thoughts on navigating my time and or do you have any favorite entertainers to convince me to see/enjoy?

The fringe will not be my focus necessarily because I do want to visit the castle and possibly the botanical garden. Timing: 8/26-30. I leave for Inverness in the afternoon of 8/30. Thanks for your thoughts

Posted by
861 posts

If you have any interest in Neuvo Cirque or Physical Theater I absolutely recommend seeing Circa: Humans 2.0. Like, 1,000% recommend! Stripped down, raw, stunning acrobatics. I first saw the troupe when the BAM brought them to New York with a different show, which was amazing. Then saw Humans 1.0 at Fringe, and again back in NY.

And don't forget that the Fringe is only "fringe" because there's a "mainstream" festival at the same time, the Edinburgh International Festival. Look to that for classical music, especially.

*edit to clarify: stripped-down, meaning not ornate—no elaborate costumes, sets, makeup. Not, you know, "stripped down".

Posted by
804 posts

Ha ha.. Scudder, I totally understood what you meant about “stripped down”. Yes, the Cirque that I have placed on my schedule is the Human one you describe. I appreciate your endorsement of that performance and I will probably get a ticket for the show. It was the first show that piqued my interest.

Posted by
2139 posts

The way I’ve done it is to review the Fringe website and decide if there are events you must see. These are artists you likely already know.

It’s so easy to be overwhelmed with the scale of the Fringe, there is simply so much happening. I used their app on my phone which allowed me to filter events happening near me in the next hour or so. Then I would just go and see what they were like. I didn’t know – no one knows what to expect. Nothing was bad, most were very good, and some were wonderful.

Choose a diverse range, pay £5 or whatever and take a chance. That’s all you can do, otherwise, you spend forever trying to decide what you may or may not like, cannot decide, and end up seeing nothing.

PS - Underbelly is a venue/promotional company rather than an artiste.

Posted by
861 posts

I'm actually excited for you to see it. And envious!

I've just taken a look at the EIF's listings. Whereas I'd recommend Cerca to absolutely anyone, I recognize these might be more subjective, but if I were there at the same time as you I'd be looking at:

Posted by
5669 posts

There are other festivals in August as well as the Fringe Festival and the International Festival. I got to part of the International Book Festival. There is also a film festival. They don't go the whole month of August, but are in the latter half of the month.

Posted by
1908 posts

Linda, this is just a personal choice because she was such an uplifting online presence during quarantine, but I will be seeing one of Elsa McTaggert’s shows if I can work my timing out. She will have 2 shows running during the Fringe: “When the World Stood Still” and “The Eva Cassidy Story”.