The Edinburgh Fringe is in full swing: the Royal Mile is packed, performers are everywhere and there is a giant upside-down cow in George Square. A host of talent and ambition has descended on Edinburgh and the city is constantly moving onwards – some shows are ending, some shows are mid run and some are only just beginning.
Comedy is dominant at the Edinburgh Fringe. Top comics such as David O’Doherty and Nina Conti are adding extra shows to meet demand, free shows are so oversubscribed they are having to turn audience members away, and debuting comedians are experiencing the Edinburgh madness for the first time. Nick Cody is one such comedian, and his show went down a storm in the Assembly Studios last week. His comedy flows naturally and his set is a great choice for a post-dinner, pre-drinks show. Cody’s standup has universal appeal: he’s charming, he doesn’t offend and he has just the right amount of audience interaction. Beard Game Strong fits its 9.40pm slot perfectly, and is a safe bet if you’re looking for an hour of classic, hilarious stand-up comedy.
However, if comedy isn’t your thing then there is plenty theatre going around. Trainspotting is one show with a lot of buzz and excitement around it, but theatre of all kind is everywhere. Asis, playing at 11.30am at the Bedlam Theatre, is a touching tale of the effects of HIV/AIDS on a gay couple in the 1980s. As the first play ever written about AIDS, it provides an interesting insight into the minds of those affected by the epidemic; however, it lacks a clear plot or structure. Overall, it feels more like you are watching a couple’s troubled life together and not a gripping and emotive story of two engaging characters.
Youth Theatre is also a massive part of August in Edinburgh (you will never be short of student acapella groups in the Edinburgh Fringe!). Captivate is an Edinburgh based theatre production company who specialise in working with young people. They have put on several productions in this year’s fringe, including Les Misérables which went down a storm to a full house in their penultimate show. The performers were consistently good, working with a tough but touching musical to deliver an entertaining and high quality performance that had a standing ovation from the crowd.
The Fringe has come to its halfway point and the enthusiasm for the festival remains. Word of mouth has begun to show its effects, and the gems of this year’s fringe are selling out fast so grab tickets for shows while you can and keep an eye out for extra performances – it may well be your last chance!
Image: A street performer at the Edinburgh Fringe. Credit: Festival Fringe Society.