Things I Learnt at the Edinburgh Fringe…

I was going to write something yesterday, because I really felt like I hadn’t made enough posts for July which, as we’ve discussed before, is connected to my long-standing obsession with my blog stats, but… well, I couldn’t be bothered last night, quite frankly. I got sucked into watching two episodes of ‘Damages’ instead and spent my evening mentally criticising Rose Byrne for being too skinny and congratulating Glenn Close on being terrifyingly creepy. 
So, anyway, I though I would start again in August and try to be a little bit more proactive and hard-working with the blog. So, here goes.
Today was my very first day at the Edinburgh Fringe EVER. I’ve been wanting to go to the fringe for a good few years and was really annoyed I missed it last year, but, anyway, never mind, I’m here now. It really wasn’t even a proper day, because, *technically* the Fringe starts tomorrow and because it was my Dad’s b’day this evening and we went out for dinner, which took 4 hours and by the end of it I was in no state to see anymore theatre. So, I’ve only seen 4 shows today, which my parents think is the most amazing and ridiculous thing they’ve ever heard ever (and they lived through the ’60s), but I know it’s pretty tame by Fringe standards.
However, after my extensive viewing experience across these 4 very different shows, I now feel that I am expert enough to start passing on lessons to those of you not lucky enough to have ever attended the Edinburgh Fringe.

1) Just because someone in the cast went to Central School of Speech and Drama doesn’t mean the show will be good. It also doesn’t mean that said actor can act. Also applies to RADA and LAMDA.

2) Sheets in a block colour are very arty. They are also very significant. They can be used to make all sorts of things. Ship sails. Water. Shrouds. Ropes. Sheets (on a bed). Do not underestimate the humble sheet. Do not underestimate the artistic kudos you can receive from using a humble sheet as a prop within your Edinburgh Fringe.

3) Creating a ‘standing-up bed’ (that is where the actors stand up and whilst other actors hold up pillows and wrap sheets around the ‘sleeping’ actors) is very ‘now’, is very ‘cool’. In short, I saw it in 50% of the Edinburgh shows today. Which means its either very ‘now’ or very ’20 years ago’.

4) Do not trust that Edinburgh shows will start on time. Do not leave 5 minutes in between shows, even if they are in the same venue. Because then you will be stuck in a position where you are waiting to see a production of ‘Shakespeare Over Breakfast’, which you weren’t really sure you wanted to see anyway, listening to Daniel Powter’s ‘Bad Day’ at full volume and hating on everyone in the show, the venue and the festival because your perfectly organised day is about to go down the tubes and it is clearly all their fault, and furthermore, they chose to do this deliberately, DELIBERATELY, I tell you, because they clearly dislike you (yes, YOU, specifically, YOU) so much.

5) Theatrical depictions of Australians by the British will inevitably involve either:
a) Racist comments (directed by a white Aussie towards another racial group)
b) Incredibly ugly clothes (think bright orange jumpers and cork hats)
c) bad accents
d) Surf Lifesavers
e) Jason Donovan and/or Home and Away references and/or Neighbours references
f) Very loud talking
g) Stupid and/or ignorant comments
or all of the above.
However, we should feel proud that Brits seem to think that we are the easiest way to bring humour and/or lightness into a scene. We’ve essentially become the Irish of the 21st century.

6) Just because a show includes breakfast in their ticket price does not mean it will be good. In fact, that’s probably your best indication it will be bad. They’re spending the money they should be spending on light effects and actors’ wages to provide you with stale croissants.

7) You will always miss out on something good. Also, you will always end up doing something you regret. It’s like a life lesson, but condensed so that you can experience it in the handy time-space of a day. Is time-space a term? I have a feeling its not, but I’ve been out drinking for my Dad’s 60th and I can’t remember anymore. Please leave suggested better terms in the comment sections. I may or may not take them on board depending on how amusing I find the term ‘time-space’ when I am sober. But, you will at least have the satisfaction of feeling superior and looking more intelligent than me by correcting me in my own comments section. Joy!

8) The Fringe is not environmentally friendly. There is not much you can do about this. People do not react well to you attempting to give back their flyers for ‘environmental reasons’. They think that you just don’t like them. Which is not true, you just want to give back their flyers for a person that is harder to convince or has a less sophisticated way of remembering which shows they want to see than you do (I fold down the top corner of the page in the Fringe guide where there are shows that I want to see. So far it has proved most effective). Really, I don’t see why they should be so offended. I’m saving them money! Making sure their flyers are most effectively used! They should be grateful!

9) Fringe chairs are uncomfortable. Always. You should take a pillow. Fringe venues are hot, despite the weather outside. Always. You should take a fan.

10) The Fringe guide book is overwhelming. The website is mildly better. Don’t try to plan things too far in advance. Pick a show at a time, go to it and figure out the rest later. Otherwise, you’ll be sitting there with the guide open on your lap, flicking back and forth muttering show times and strange venue names to yourself, grid references, attempting to create a cohesive whole out of something that is essentially the bargain bucket at a charity store (a BIG bargain bucket. The type that you end up dragging a paisley quilt cover out of assuming its a really awesome skirt).

11) Pretty much everyone has at least a 4 star review from someone for something. It is not a guarantee that the show will be good or worthwhile.

12) Female comedians like to have their photo taken in extreme close-up, usually with one eyebrow raised, possibly clutching strange objects like a brass horse, or a bunch of lemons. This proves how kooky and potentially amusing they are. Male comedians seem to prefer satirising CD covers and/or move posters and/or showing their penises (or pretending to).

13) If sheer number of related productions is anything to go by, Shakespeare is still a really excellent choice of show to put on. As is anything to do with Jane Austen. Or Dickens. Strindberg’s good if you want people to think you’re a little bit left of center and a true theatre intellectual (who’s Strindberg you ask? Well, if you have to ask, then you probably don’t deserve to know…)

I think that’s probably it for the moment. I’m sure there are more lessons, but I can’t remember them right now. I will write them down later. Lots of love, kiss kiss, going to sleep now, Jen.

At the Edinburgh Fringe there is a severe chance you will lose your head and grown a letter in its place. Found at:—1-PLACE-LEFT



Filed under Scotland

2 responses to “Things I Learnt at the Edinburgh Fringe…

  1. According to this:
    Timespace may refer to:
    1. Spacetime, any mathematical model that combines space and time into a single continuum

    2. Timespace – The Best of Stevie Nicks, a greatest hits album by Stevie Nicks

    3. “Time Space EP”, 2012 single by Japanese singer and voice actress Nana Mizuki

  2. Excellent work, Bostin! You should feel mightily superior 🙂

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