Edinburgh fringe

The Fringe: a race against the clock

There are too many shows and not enough time to see them at the Edinburgh Fringe. Some shows are good to see and worth a mention but in the hectic schedule of the Festival easily lost. Here is a summary of a few more I have attended.

1) Dreaming Under the Southern Bough: a stage@leedscompany adaptation of the revered Chinese playwright Tang Xianzu’s work. The first time performed in English, the play made for an interesting watch but came across slightly awkwardly onstage owing to the mix of a modern setting and a fairytale-type otherworld setting. Strong morals, as with most Chinese-inspired works, but perhaps more effective in storybook form.

2) A Poke in the Eye: one of those shows with a sensitive subject matter attempting to be funny where it perhaps shouldn’t be. However, credit for the attempt and it is a compelling story; not many experience going blind and Georgie Morrell does manage some light humour out of it. Good advice on how to stay positive when faced with a life-changing disability.

3) Cam and Flora: a sketch show of individual characters, showing undeniable acting talent on behalf of the two performers but needs more variation and continuity to make it memorable. A dashing of politics to finish with which added some depth to the otherwise purely playful show.

4) David Quirk – Approaching Perfection: a cute little venue on a bus parked by Potterrow, good atmosphere and prop usage. The only comedian to admit to giving out drugs – the Australian version of paracetamol from the pharmacy. Not necessarily side-splitting jokes but a good laugh nonetheless.

5) Ben Dali – Strictly Come Trancing: a bizarre comic hypnosis show which you can’t quite believe you’re watching. Audience volunteers raced up to the stage to fall into a deep sleep, from which they were woken, still in a trance, to do all the silly things Dali suggested. My inner scepticism was smothered by how genuine their reactions were. Dali reused material from last year at the Fringe but it was nevertheless effective.

6) Adam & Eve and Steve: an entertaining musical comedy about what might have happened had Satan also created a gay guy to interrupt God’s coupling of Adam and Eve. Brilliant singers, excellent use of leaves for costumes and generally very enjoyable.

7) Out on the World: a collection of amateur poetry inspired by the travels of a young woman. Different to the usual Fringe outing and an interesting insight into local life in a few areas of the world but nothing particularly remarkable about the performance.

8) Max & Ivan: comedy duo rising to fame, last time I saw them was a few years ago at a tiny Pleasance Courtyard venue and they have since upgraded massively. An autobiographical sketch of how the two met, a delightful chorus of anecdotes and randomness, ending with a rather sweet photo projection of the pair growing up.

9) The Very Nice Improv Show: young drama group Beard of Zeus, looked like they were having fun with the audience suggestions but not always very skilfully pulled off. Obvious friendliness within the group which did make for pleasant watching. Quite a fast-paced varied show which did mask their inexperience, some witty acting and certainly a very nice atmosphere.

Sifting through the never-ending catalogue of the Fringe is a task, but a worthwhile one. Take a chance and explore the genres.

Image credit: Ben Dali

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Fiona Brewis

ARTS EDITOR -- Fiona Brewis, 18, is currently studying German with Chinese at the University of Warwick, where she manages her degree alongside her duties as Arts Editor of Young Perspective and President of German society. Her love for writing stemmed from an insatiable thirst for reading as a child, and she hopes to one day publish a novel. Fiona’s creative work has also been published in various Young Writers collections and she has additionally published two articles for the Herald newspaper. She first found out about Young Perspective when studying English at school with Editor Isaac Callan and was attracted by its presence on social media to begin writing for it.

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