Edinburgh Fringe Round Up
Edinburgh Fringe Round Up
Ah Edinburgh; A city rich with surrounding rugged landscapes, mountainous terrain and near constant mist and clouds, amongst which lies block upon block of gothic buildings interconnected by narrow alleys and steep footsteps which lead to…more gothic buildings. There is one period of time however, in this amazing city's calendar where neither Arthur's mound or the castle gets much of a look in, tourists barely take a moment to savour the Scottish delicacies of Haggis and Tatties, and the gothic architecture transform from historical buildings into "venues". When the Fringe festival kicks off in the first week of August a buzz begins to radiate throughout the city, one that doesn't subside until the last poster is taken down and the final flier-man returns to his native land.
As ever, this year's festival had a dizzying array of comedy, theatre, music and dance on offer and amongst the programme the Irish stood their ground not only in the volume of work contributed but in the sheer quality. Our first show of the trip was, as always, David O'Doherty's yearly offering and Seize the David O'Doherty did not disappoint, as Ireland's most affable comedian kept the audience enthralled with the standard self-deprecating gags. In this set the self-professed Alf lookalike (think 90s extra-terrestrial not Home & Away) turned the trauma of a broken heart into comic gold with intelligent observations and his unmatchable prowess on the tiny keyboard.
Heartfelt reflection seemed to be a prevalent theme in our itinerary - while David O'Doherty does it with comedy songs, Siamsa Tire are a little more traditional in their approach with What the Folk, an intimate piece in which the members of the company invite a small audience group into their Edinburgh home. Through a comforting combination of tea, cake and genuine Irish welcomes, this astonishingly talented troupe leads their houseguests in an interrogation of "what is folk?" You'll laugh, learn, smack your lips at the delicious lemon cake and will be guaranteed to leave with a fuzzy warm feeling in your belly.
Edinburgh truly gives one the opportunity to immerse oneself in a variety of genres - comedy, dance, theatre - and the complete absurd. Enter Betrayal of Penguins with their sketch show Harmed and Dangerous. This trio of comics will take you on a chaotic journey through time, lands and varying levels of sanity until you come out the other side with your face sore from laughing and your head sore from scratching (although that could well have been Edinburgh hostel bed bugs...it can be hard to distinguish).
When it comes to straight up theatre one of our top Irish tips from Edinburgh would have to be Cheery & Wild Productions' incredibly sweet and funny Love All. Telling the possibly true story of Vere St Ledger, Irish tennis champion, and his beautiful and possibly devious wife (it's never quite certain) this play is colourful and quirky and the perfect length and tone for a lunchtime show. While we hunted down Love All due to rave reviews from its run in Dublin, we admittedly and luckily stumbled across The Life and Sort of Death of Eric Argyle from 15th Oak Productions. This play takes a retrospective look at a seemingly ordinary man's life to reveal the beauty that lies in the most mundane incidents and relationships. The large cast are oozing with charm, as is the story, which weaves together complicatedly before revealing a perfect tapestry on completion. Hopefully this is one that will be making its way onto the Irish stage very soon.
So that's Edinburgh for this year (I won't bore you with the terrible muck that we also witnessed as it's best forgotten as soon as possible). Flights are cheap, the hostels are inexpensive and often of a high quality and tickets are far cheaper than you'd get your hands on here – with fantastic restaurants and nightlife to complement everything else afoot at this time of year, a visit to the Edinburgh Fringe is well worth the trip.
Story by EI Team | 09:00 | Thursday 16th August 2012 | Theatre
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