This August will see thousands of people flock to the Scottish capital to watch everything from cutting edge comics to stand out debut performances at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival. So for the uninitiated, here’s everything you need to know if you’re going for the first time…
1.Book Your Tickets Online
Make sure you book that comedy show you’re dying to see before you go – there’s nothing worse than trekking all the way up to Scotland to watch your favourite act to see a ‘Sold Out’ sign for their show at the ticket office. And you’ll also avoid the (inevitable) queues.
2.Talk To People To Avoid A Dud Show
That show that said five stars on the flyer but is actually terrible? It will spread like wildfire at the Fringe. It’s all part of the Fringe experience to get chatting with complete strangers (and drunk comics) over a beer at the Pleasance Courtyard – who are happy to spread news of the best and worst acts they’ve seen. Get informed, get chatting!
3. Pace Yourself
Be totally honest with yourself – are you really going to watch those 10 plays in one day that you spent 150 quid on? Probably not. Four or five shows a day is probably a realistic target. Keep in mind most theatre performances are in the morning, while most comedy kicks off at night. Daytime drinking op? Most definitely.
4. Check Out The Sights
Spare a couple of hours between shows? Take some time out from the Fringe mahem to walk up Arthur’s Seat (about a 15minute walk from the Royal Mile) to experience the best views in Edinburgh.
5. Know Where To Get A Freebie
If you hang around the cool comedy hangout the Pleasence Courtyard long enough, you’ll likely get offered deals and the occasional freebie for shows that evening (side note: great place for celeb spotting). Also head to the Half Price Hut (open from the 12-31 August) for a bargain, offering 2 for 1 tickets for performances happening that day and the following morning.
6. Queue Early
Aim to turn up at your shows venue 15 minutes before it starts. If you’ve got to get across town to get to another venue leave at least half an hour to get there – you don’t want to be the late comer interrupting a comedy set (trust us, most comics will call you out on this).
Here’s Our Top Picks From Edinburgh Fringe Festival 2015…
1. Jenny Bede: Don’t Look At Me
Rising star in the comedy circuit whose hilarious parody music videos have garnered over 2 million hits on YouTube. One to watch.
2. Bridget Christie: A Book For Her
Stand-up and author, Bridget Christie, is back with an unapologetically feminist show to launch her award winning literary debut ‘A Book For Her,’ (if you have yet to read it, we suggest you head to your nearest Waterstones asap). Fellow comic Harry Hill called her ‘the most original comic I’ve seen in years.’
Venue: The Stand Comedy Club (Venue 5a), 11am, Aug 8-16, 18-31
3. The Gospel According To Jesus, Queen Of Heaven
This unique and daring play imagining Jesus as transgender from acclaimed playwright and performer, Jo Clifford, combines beautifully theatre with storytelling and the spoken word. Not to be missed.
Venue: Summerhall (Venue 26), 10:45, Aug 5-9, 12-16, 19-23, 26-30
4. Luisa Omielan: Am I Right Ladies
The hottest ticket on the comedy calendar this year. Following on from the success of her standout debut in 2014 ‘What Would Beyonce Do?!’ Omielan is back for a second year for three nights only.
Venue: Assembly George Square Theatre (Venue 8), 20:45, Aug 13-15
5. Hey, I’m Alive
A four-hour long interactive piece from Edinburgh based theatre company Creative Electric which explores the realities of living with Cystic Fibrosis (because of the low immune system caused by CF, and the ability for bacteria to grow easily on their lungs, people with Cystic Fibrosis can’t meet each other). Five performers (one of who has Cystic Fibrosis) are placed inside their own ‘Zorb’ with a thin layer of latex protecting them from infection. Audiences are free to wander amongst them, interact and listen to their stories.
Venue: Dance Base (Venue 22), 13:00-17:00, Aug 17-20
By Emma Firth
Edinburgh Fringe Festival starts Fri 7 until Mon 31 August, for tickets visit https://www.edfringe.com/