Wednesday, 24 July 2013

Edinburgh Festival Recommendations Pt. 1 by Katey

I'm no Festival Expert but having experienced the confusion and panic of hitting the festival with absolutely no idea what to see and what on earth might be any good (How can all the shows have 5 stars? Do I really want to see a political comedy? Why does everyone look so wacky in their posters? Argghh!), I am at the very least Festival Prepared these days.  So here are my top tips for the Edinbugh Fringe 2013 that I'd recommend to anyone looking for suggestions on things to do at the festival.  Personal recommendations are what it's all about and though I can't 100 per cent guarantee joy and laughter, I reckon there's a fighting chance of a jolly good time with any of these shows and events below.  

So, first with the funny.  Irish comedian David O'Doherty is consistently hilarious, combining stand up with songs played on a Casio keyboard.  I'd also recommend The Boy With Tape On His Face - I have to admit when I first saw him I wondered just how funny a mute guy with tape on his face could actually be but was completely converted after seeing him.  If you have an absolute horror of audience participation it may not be for you (though it is very mild and not of the humiliating kind). US comedy writer David Sedaris isn't a stand-up but is an excellent story-teller and should be a sure bet for some chuckles too.  Luisa Omielan is bringing back her show What Would Beyonce Do? which I will definitely be up for seeing, as I could use some Sasha Fierce in my life (though my own personal version would probably be What Would Chloe Sevigny Do?).

There'll be plenty of theatre on which can be hit or miss.  The Traverse Theatre is generally known for putting on some excellent shows and will be returning their breakfast shows, which include a bacon roll and cuppa in the price.  They start at 9am so it's a good motivator to start off your day with a bit of culture, dahling.  Dance Derby at Patersons Land is all about the gruelling dance marathons that took place in depression-era America, where shows could last for weeks on end.  They attracted huge audiences and dancers only got to break to sleep for a few hours at a time and had to dance as they eat.  This show is only an hour though and brings this drama to life with ten dancers, an MC and a six piece jazz ensemble playing 1930's swing.  Whatever Gets You Through The Night debuted in Glasgow last year and is making a special festival apperance.  It brings together some of Scotland's most talented writers, musicians and visual artists to collaborate on what happens between the hours of midnight and 4am so you can expect tenderness and outrageousness in equal measure, plus some top tunes. 

Speaking of music, some special concerts will be on in August.  It's always a pleasure to visit Queens Hall and it will be much more of a pleasure to hear King Creosote there, with a solo acoustic performance first and then with full band on 3 August.  Kid Canaveral are also playing at the Liquid Room with ballboy on 10 August which is going to be pretty damn awesome.

Some regular Edinburgh events will be having festival specials too.  The National Museum will be holding two of their popular After Hours events which allows you to explore the museum and exhibits with a drink or two and performances from Fringe acts around the world: Russian mimesJapanese circus troupes and a Korean theatre group.  The Auld Reekie Roller Girls will be playing two special bouts at their home at Meadowbank Stadium, against the Helsinki and Stockholm Roller Derby.  These festival games are always very well attended and have an amazing atmosphere too - expect blood.

There are also some exciting sounding food events taking place too.  The Jitterball is a vintage afternoon tea party held by Jelly & Gin: held at the beautiful Mansfield Traquair, there'll be afternoon tea sandwiches, scones, cakes, desserts and a cocktail as well as a gramaphone DJ, swing dancers, vintage photobooth and Mr B, the Gentleman Rhymer.  If that's not enough for you, Miss Dixiebelle's Vintage Hair & Beauty Parlour will be there to touch up your rolls and flicks. Hendricks Carnival of Knowledge have some gin based fun with a literary bent: shows include A Genteel Tipple Through Gin in Literature, Bibliotherapy Live!, Edinburgh: Literary City and an Erotic Writing Masterclass.

You can also check out our epic Guide to Enjoying the Fringe for all of our favourite festival hangouts and secrets!


  1. There are also some great coffee popups happening. Lock Up Coffee on Broughton St Lane, Artisan in the Grassmarket, Brewlab at BBC Potterow and Castello at HMV Garden. Spread the word!