The Edinburgh Festival has a lot to live up to. Sixty years after it began as a post-war initiative to re-unite Europe through culture, it’s now the world’s largest arts festival, welcoming performers and audiences from all over the planet, bringing them together in their appreciation of all things arty. So as well as being the home of a ‘cultural explosion’ and offering countless venues to a variety of weird and wonderful shows, it also manages to be a key player in international relations. Well done, Edinburgh.
Every August, Edinburgh is transformed. The streets are filled with actors desperately plugging shows, thrusting fliers into the hands of nervous, overwhelmed tourists. Buskers fight to outdo each other, gradually edging up the volume until sound battles echo around the cobbled streets. Celebrities are benevolent enough to mill around with the plebs – this year, the city was host to people with such star status as Neil and Christine Hamilton and Les Dennis. Wow! And amongst all this, there’s the opportunity to see some of the best new talent in theatre, music, dance and comedy. Unfortunately, you are also subjected to some of the worst.
The thing about Edinburgh is that it’s a bit of a gamble. The Fringe Festival is open to anyone; none of the performers are invited to take part. For one month, literally any aspiring artist can have his name up in lights and attempt to enter the heady world of showbiz. For some, such as Matt Lucas and David Walliams, it is the start of a successful career. However, there are a few who fool themselves with a misplaced belief in their own abilities. If you’ve ever watched the X Factor you’ll know what I mean. The difference is that at Edinburgh these people manage to charge you for the privilege of squirming in your seats in complete embarrassment!
I am pleased to say that the Nottingham offerings could proudly stand up and be counted amongst the true artistes. They were worth every penny!
Check out Impact’s reviews:
Bizarre sightings in Edinburgh, both on and off the stage.
- The star of ‘Jesus of Guantanamo Bay’ (suitably bearded and clad in orange jump-suit) having a beer with some friends at the Underbelly bar.
- A six-year-old playing bagpipes two times the size of his own lung capacity, gradually turning more and more purple.
- A production in which the actors were stark bollock naked, gave each other piggy-backs then tipped red wine all over themselves. They say ‘classical’, we say porn…
- A man dressed as an oversize chicken making his way home with a number of heavy shopping bags.
- Two burly nuns making school girls get down on their knees to scrub the Royal Mile.
- A warehouse-sized, inflatable purple cow with its legs and udders pointed skywards to mark the E4 sponsored ‘Udderbelly’ venue.
- Comedian Daniel Kitson having pizza delivered for his audience’s enjoyment during his stand up routine.
- Groups of actors sprawled out in heaps across the Royal Mile, either to promote a play with lots of death in it, or perhaps just struck down by a collective hangover.
- An impeccably dressed Jeeves taking butlering beyond the bounds of duty to carry some friends’ bags on a trip to ‘Chocolate Soup’.
- Unlikely adaptations of Shakespeare plays – you want one told via the medium of jazz? With acrobats? On a bouncy castle? With free ice cream? With a giant prosthetic penis? All of these and more were to be found at the Fringe…
Charlie Longstaff and Bianca Leggett