I'm talking about the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, of course.
Four weeks of late nights, several missed afternoon sessions (thanks, Work!), a little - but sadly not enough - time spent with a visiting friend, hot dogs of different kinds at every venue for lack of choice, and joining hundreds of people queuing patiently.
Most shows I managed to get to were fantastic, some were ok, and only a couple were a little underwhelming. I won't mention those as the official reviewers have already left their no doubt harsh mark.
Sooo, you want names, I hear? Right. Here come the most memorable ones.
In early August we went back to an 'old' favourite of ours - a sketch show of a different kind. Intelligent. All-female. And very funny. Hat off to Ladygarden. Quirky, hilarious, quick, sarcastic, not afraid to take the mickey. A fantastic show second year running. 4.5*
Another memorable act was Russell Kane - who now won the Edinburgh Comedy Award for best act 2010. His show Smokescreens and Castles was very personal, moving yet funny, never losing its warmth. Definitely different from the jokey haha brigade. And definitely more memorable. 4.5*
The event where I cried my first tears - laughing - was Abandoman's hip hop sketch show. With clues from audience members (memorably a wine maker, a woman working in a brewery and our friend, the former Metallica roadie), the due made up songs on the spot about the lives of those unfortunates. Hilariously funny, quick, witty. 4.5*
Of course, you couldn't miss out Al Murray's Pub Landlord show. Two hours of belly laughs (yes, aimed mainly at other members in the audience!), crude hints at punters, jokes about Germans (inevitable) and pub quiz questions about weird and wonderful things - with a frozen chicken for the winner and frozen Lorne sausages for the runners-up. Which was us! Together with hubby, another couple and two guys, we racked our brains to end up second. Great fun, oh, and a wee bit proud, too! ;-) 4*
I couldn't possibly forget the Queens of the Fringe - Drags Aloud. Their show At the Movies included hits like Over the Rainbow, and the Sound of Music. The costumes, on-stage antics and mimicry are hilarious. Not once in August did a show pass this quickly. Blink, and you missed the Unmissable. A clear highlight, and one we hope to enjoy again one day. 4.5*
Top of my 5* list this year - and the only event getting that rare accolade - is NoFit State circus with their show 'Tabu - I will be bad'. When I heard we were going to the circus, I thought, ok, let's see. But then we got there and it's like nothing I've ever seen before. Forget childhood circuses - this is a huge step up. Air acrobats (I'd call them artists), a live jazzy band with an incredible choice of songs (got the CD! lol), the audience moving around the tent to wherever the action was, and an atmosphere of excitement and awe. The artists were incredible, so sure and confident of what they were doing. Not one glitch that I spotted. And best of all - they enjoyed themselves. A must see if they ever tour in your area! A very well-deserved 5*
There were many other fantastic acts that deserve to be here but dinner's gotta be cooked. August is nearly over and with it the variety, the fun, the celeb-spotting.
PS - please check out Gary Delaney. Forgot to add him to the acts above but he was hilarious with quick-fire jokes. Even got a handshake out of it. Nice one! 4*
Oh, I'll miss the excitement. Roll on next August! ;-)
Edinburgh’s heaving. Yes, it’s festival time again. The time when clever locals run for the hills. Or Spain. So when better to face the crowds than a sunny if breezy Saturday afternoon in August?
Well, our day started well – with a Radio 4 show being recorded at the Pleasance. Nice and light entertainment. Once the show was done, we had to cross the city to get to the place we’d decided to have lunch. Walking along bustling streets, people walked in the middle of the pavement, bumping into us. Some made way, just as we did, walking in line. Others – or rather, most – didn’t. Walking 3 or 4 abreast, chatting and completely ignorant of other pedestrians coming towards them, they obviously expected us to happily jump off the pavement onto the street. No, hon. The pavement doesn’t have a one-way system.
So out came the elbow! In extreme cases, I just stopped, making one of them swerve around me. Pokey poke went the elbow. Hellooo!!! Funnily enough I didn’t get any abuse. Just strange looks.
Eventually we got to the east end for a bite at a nice Italian restaurant. Well, not as nice as last time as they got my order wrong and the ‘fresh tortelloni’ ended up a bit gloopy. The sauce & salad were nice, though.
Afterwards we soaked up the dignified atmosphere at the Bookfest but couldn’t see anything we wanted to desperately see. Then we decided to pop into various shops on Princes Street, zig-zagging through the crowds. Well, at least that pavement was no different than at Christmas time but still – groups of people expect others to duck and dive. Well, my elbow was getting very busy.
Needless to say, I couldn’t find anything I wanted in any of the shops though I bought a couple of CDs I hadn’t gone out to buy. Oh well, nice treat!
The afternoon continued nicely in our favourite pub on the Royal Mile – which I hadn’t seen this busy in ages. Probably at least since last August. The crowds were pushing and shoving each other out of the way. Was fun to watch from the seats we found near the door, with plenty of space around us, giving us the perfect view of the mob. Ahh, not my elbows anymore…
Just uploaded new pics on my website at www.cathiedunn.com/locations. Go check them out! The latest three pics are shots from Normandy, two of Falaise Castle (or what little is left of it - though the internal exhibition tour is amazing!) and the third is the Tour Marguerite - the only remaining city tower of Argentan from the 12th century. Just standing outside it was an amazing moment.
Digging out those pics makes me want to go back to Normandy. Fingers crossed I'll make it next year... ;-)