The last month has been an absolute whirlwind. It was fully my intention to go to the fringe to review and write while I was there. However, unfortunately I found myself too busy to make this a reality. Going to the fringe while working at the Pleasance was a dream; I had the best time, saw many shows, made great friends, and was entirely rushed off my feet the whole time. It was my goal to see at least one show a day whilst I was there, instead I only made it to 26 (including some revisits), which isn’t that bad going really…
As I was not reviewing during the fringe the following write-ups will be more of a personal reminder or memory than a review or anything else.
Comedians/comedy shows I saw: Twayna Mayne, Iain Stirling, Pleasance Newcomer Comedy Gala, Berks Nest Mid-Fest Comedy Special, Audible Presents, James Acaster, Late Night Gimp Fight, Pippa Evans, Comedian Rap Battles.
Dance/variety/magic shows I saw: Cirkopolis, Tutu, Colin Cloud.
And of course I saw musicals and theatre!
Showstopper was a standout for me. Having previously seen the company perform at West End Live, I was ecstatic to see them (quite a few times) at the Pleasance. Each performance was a tidal wave of impressive improvisation as the cast created unique worlds each time, with a live band adding impromptu music and underscoring to the plot. The highlight for me was when each of the cast members or the MC added in a particularly difficult element which made the rest of the cast laugh or squirm. Showstopper was the best of the fest for me.
A particularly stunning piece of theatre was Whalebone. Hatch It Theatre’s piece explores bodies and how much space a body is entitled to. The performance focuses on physical theatre and puppetry to narrate the story of a woman taking control over her body, removing pieces of herself while consciously aware of the space she is occupying. Whalebone hones in on society’s fixation of the body and creates a piece of feminist theatre detailing how gender norms and expectations are deeply engrained in us all and how they should be dismantled.
The Midnight Beast: All Killer was a particularly outrageous and fun musical comedy. As seen on YouTube the parody music trio have brought their show to the fringe with some new cast members. The “slasher comedy” features original music which is witty and funny – and the harmonies really set the performance apart from similar shows. The Midnight Beast had me crying with laughter.
Buzz: A New Musical was a musical that needs a cast album and a West End transfer right now. An exploration of the history of the vibrator and one woman’s journey to love herself after a breakup; the show is incredibly relatable, empowering, and touching – and obviously hilarious.
The one night only event Amusical hosted by Kiri Pritchard-McLean and Jayde Adams was one of the most brilliant nights of the festival. The charity event was a sold out hit as different comedians performed their favourite musical numbers with an added competitive element of the best acts getting to perform another number. From Grease to The Sound of Music, from “The Cell Block Tango” to a Hamilton medley the night was a hilarious singalong event. The Hamilton medley being the pinnacle as the comedians struggled with the fast and difficult lyrics having only had a day to rehearse. The night was rounded off with everyone coming on stage to sing “One Day More” to which the whole audience joined in. Featuring John Robins, Sara Pascoe, Tape Face, Ellie Taylor and many more.
Other musicals and theatre: Sleeping Trees at the Movies (Western), Out of the Blue, Thrones! The Musical, Crosstentatious, Odyssey.
My time in Edinburgh was absolutely spectacular, the fringe is so diverse and there’s so much to explore and see, I barely scratched the surface. Hopefully next year I’ll know what I’m in for – but I still wouldn’t change my experience for anything.