Last Weekend, myself and Andrea left our THIS IS IT! Community Managing and Events Organisation duties behind to sample the artistic offerings at this year’s Edinburgh Fringe. We have returned depleted in energy but imbued with creative inspiration, and what follows is a round-up of our highlights of the cultural delights we squeezed in during one weekend at the world’s biggest arts festival.
5. Eggs Collective, Get Around. Laughing Horse @ The Counting House
Our number five slot goes to the highly-coveted Wild Card nomination. A free show performed at midnight in a sweaty attic above a pub; on paper, this ain’t looking good. But don’t be fooled, Eggs Collective are a whip-smart trio of cabaret impresarios that will have you tickled and challenged in equal measure. Well worth the heat exhaustion from the pokey choice of venue.
4. Unfaithful, Traverse theatre productions at the Traverse Theatre
Writer Owen McCafferty has cemented a reputation for excelling at acutely observed human drama, and this Traverse production is no exception. A four hander featuring one couple of the THIS IS IT! demographic and one from the baby boomer generation, it sheds light on the emotional stumbling blocks that affect and unite us all. If a more traditional play with stellar production values and top-notch performances is your thing, you won’t do better at the Fringe this year.
3. Little on the Inside, Clean Break at Summerhall
As we walk into the beautiful Anatomy Lecture Theatre, the room is filled with the energy of two young women waiting for us to settle before erupting into the most powerful performance of the festival. Alice Birch’s play is set in an abstract patch of green, where the women are able to find comfort and develop intense emotions for one another. The text is absolutely beautiful, like spoken word and Beckett mashed together. The play was developed from a brief by Clean Break, the acclaimed company founded by women prisoners who believed “theatre could bring the hidden stories of imprisoned women to a wider audience”. A must see, but prepare yourself to be filled with emotion you might need to digest over a break at Summerhall’s terrace bar!
2. Guinea Pigs on Trial, Sh!t Theatre at Summerhall
Sh!t Theatre have done it again. After securing Arts Council England funding to write a show about their experiences taking part in medical trials they, well, they have failed. This smart, hilarious satire relates Becca and Louise’s (or Booise) attempts to sell their bodies to science for money, and failing. Their excellent investigative skills – which they already demonstrated in their previous show about UK’s unemployment JSA (Job Seekers Anonymous) – makes them stand out from other comedy shows at the Fringe. Or was it the free lolly pop in the goodie-prescription bag we got, or the placebo vodka shot?
1. Chef, POP Productions, Underbelly
This monologue on a woman’s descent from gourmet chef to prison cook was undoubtedly the highlight of the weekends’ merry-go-round of shows. If the pitch-perfect prose poetry of writer Sabrina Mahfouz doesn’t win you over, the peerlessly powerful performance of Jade Anouka definitely will. It’s been winning praise of critics and punters alike and we couldn’t agree more.
Becky, THIS IS IT! Community Manager
Have you been to the Fringe yet this year? Let us know your top tips by commenting below, or tweet us @CreativeSoc #ThisIsItNetwork.