Edinburgh Fringe - 21 Shows, 17 Venues, 5 Days

The Edinburgh Fringe Festival is amazing.  Over the course of a month, 2000+ different performances are on offer ranging from comedy (stand-up, musical, sketch), experimental theatre, live gigs, satire, poetry, and more.  There is something for every taste.  We visited Edinburgh for our first Fringe experience and here are our stats:
  • 21 Shows
  • 17 Venues
  • 5 Days
I could see us going back every year simply for the energy and novelty of it all.  I definitely recommend becoming a "Friend of the Fringe" for the half price ticket offers.  The performances are generally reasonably priced but the costs can add up if you see a lot of shows.
Here's are quick reviews of the shows we saw.  Star ratings seem to be essential at the Fringe so I've included a 1-5 star rating based on my personal preferences.


Bogan Bingo  - High energy and hilarious playing on Australian stereotypes to deliver an awesome show with prizes (framed photo of a smoking baby!) and everything.  We actually played Bingo.

The Curse of Horse & Louis  - Musical comedians that look a bit like the gents in Flight of the Conchords. They deserved a bigger audience than they got.  We found them endearing and quite funny.  I still find myself quoting their 'rape alarm' bit (What?!).

The Dog-Eared Collective: You're Amazing (Now Look at Me)  - Many of the sketches fell a bit flat but their bit on Glasgow's bid for the winter Olympics was hilarious...especially because they brought my husband up on stage, dressed him in a tartan kilt and had him light the Olympic torch.

Dr. Quimpugh's Compendium of Peculiar Afflictions  - It's an opera. It was well sung and acted but the story was a bit piece-meal.  A doctor in his twilight years is depressed while trying to come to terms with his legacy.  Each song and scene is a remembrance of how he diagnosed and documented a strange illness (eg: the 'Alien Hand').

The Fantasist  - Amazing artistry...this was the top dramatic performance that we saw at the Fringe centering on one woman's struggle with Manic-Depressive disorder.

Flash Mob  - Meh. A bit too commercial for our taste.  The dancing was fun but the festival wasn't quite the right setting.

Half a Person: My Life as Told by the Smiths  - I love The Smiths and I loved this show.  It's a 1-man drama about love, self-absorption, and true friendship.  This one actually made me cry.

I am Google  - A large everyday man dressed in a Google t-shirt brings the search engine to life.  Am amusing portrayal with quite a bit of improvisation.  Best of all, it was free.

Jonny and the Baptists  - High energy musical comedy.  Jonny and the Baptists were entertaining but would have been funnier if they'd focused on the music and less on extraneous dialog with the audience.

The Les Clochards  - Hobo Rock would be the best way to describe this group.  They took classic hits (like Madonna's Like a Virgin) and gave it their own spin while dressed in tattered rags and dirt spotted faces.  The audience loved this one more than I did (I heard 5-stars bantered about a bit).  I thought it was very good but not amazing.

The Mechanisms - Once Upon a Time in Space  - Another free performance, these guys get an 'A' for effort and enthusiasm.  The ensemble cast were actually quite talented musicians.  The story was just a bit difficult to follow.  Essentially Old King Cole and various other nursery rhyme characters take to space.

Mugging Chickens  - Free sketch comedy at its best at The Three Sisters pub.  The sketches ranged from the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinald (quite high brow) to a young boy bringing home a crazed homeless guy from the city dump.  The characters would weave in and out of the performance.  Super fun.

Luisa Omielan - What Would Beyonce Do?  - The Meadow Bar was on the way back to our B&B each evening.  We passed this one by a few times before finally going in.  Luisa Omielan was high energy and quite funny.  I felt a bit uncomfortable laughing though when she spun stories of her father leaving and her brother's suicide attempt into her act.  Some things aren't meant to be funny.

Repertory Theatre  - Two man play about a struggling repertory theatre.  It was an extremely witty and well-acted performance.

Robert Burns: A Life in Words and Song  - This performance was perfectly matched to the venue.  A Scottish historian and folk musician joined forces to tell the story of Scotland's national poet most famous for giving the world Auld Lang Syng. Held in the Captain's Bar, I was able to kick back, sip whisky rich with peat at 11 am and learn all I ever cared to know about the fascinating Robert Burns who was quite the lyricist and lover.

Sexytime!  - A superficially not-so-sexy couple, completely at ease with their own body image and sexuality take us on a journey from Adam and Eve to a modern day nightclub.  Man would grunt but not speak.  Woman eloquently narrated the story.  Well done.

Thea Skot's Miss Adventures  - Funny sketch comedy in a dark, damp venue, Thea's characters were brought to life with humor and energy.

Towards the Moon  - A new Scottish musical about a twenty-something aspiring writer who gets a new lease on life after a near death experience.

21A  - One man show demonstrating the star's tremendous range.  The play tells the story of a particular bus line connecting Minneapolis and St. Paul, Minnesota and its larger-than-life riders.

Under Dogs - Helsinki  - A female sketch-comedy duo entertained a packed crowd at Jekyll and Hyde pub.  Another fun and free performance.

World War Wonderful!  - This was the one show that I absolute did not like and had I not been hemmed in by other audience members would have gotten up and walked out.  The show was meant to be a satire on war and war mongering but the performance crossed the line and was utterly offensive in my opinion featuring songs like 'My Baby is an Amputee'.  I hear this show is popular in Australia  but I'd personally give it a miss.

We had an amazing experience at our first Edinburgh Fringe.  Every which way we turned, there was an imaginative, creative performance waiting for us to enjoy.  Can't wait to return next year!

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Sidewalk Safari | Part-time Travel Blog: Edinburgh Fringe - 21 Shows, 17 Venues, 5 Days
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