Another Edinburgh Fringe has drawn to a close, marking Binge Fringe’s second year of mad, frenzied 3AM-review-writing. Join me, Jasper, as I sit back, puff on my pipe (metaphorically, have you seen what tobacco does to your lungs) and extol about what I loved and what I didn’t about this year’s Fringe.
OVER?! What do you mean it’s over? I refuse to believe it. You can’t mean to say that I have actually been in bed for multiple consecutive days, breaking only for intermittent washing, and it’s just a Fringe-induced fever dream? I’m really home? Fuck’s sake.
I had a wonderful time at 2019’s Edinburgh Fringe. Last year, we were only in Scotland for a week, which unfortunately meant I only saw a handful of shows. Reviewing full-time for Binge Fringe this time around, while Jake, Mike and the others at Slipshod Theatre showed off their Space Junk, I saw a staggering *35* shows across 18 days, 25 of which got full-blown reviews. This afforded me the opportunity to see a bunch of shows I wouldn’t have otherwise, such as the gothic horror/comedy that was The Grandmother’s Grimm, or Shakespeare but-clown-style in 2Elfth Night. I thoroughly enjoyed every performance I watched, even that which I vehemently disliked (but was still grateful that it triggered me to think).
I also had the pleasure of seeing some truly stand-out student theatre. My Fringe kicked off with a bang: My Mate Dave Died from students at Sheffield University was worthy of 5 stars, a truly intelligent and funny take on life, death and love amongst young people. Another 5* affair, Oxford’s Redacted Arachnid, was the only show I went to see twice. An incredibly impressive production which was genuinely very funny, it told the true story of Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark, a real Broadway musical which went as badly as you would think. And I couldn’t help but give Cambridge’s Cicada 3301 5 stars as well; also inspired by a true story, it managed to be both dramatically serious in its writing and bizarrely inventive with its production value. Across the realms of student comedy, I thoroughly enjoyed all the sketch groups I saw – from Bristol, Durham, Leeds and St Andrews – but I can’t get away with not mentioning The Biscuit Barrel, friends from the University of Winchester, a truly raucous and envelope-pushing sketch comedy show which won The Derek Award for Best Overall Show. They’re a great bunch of people and I know I speak for all of us when I say we can’t wait to reunite with them at next year’s Fringe, if not before.
Special sho(w)utotuts have gotta go to Four Woke Baes, Alex Kealy: Rationale, We Apologise for the Inconvenience and Ricky Riddlegang and the Riddle Gang. All the shows mentioned, and more beyond, have been truly fantastic, funny and thought-provoking, making my Edinburgh Fringe all the more wonderful. Indeed, there were so many more I wish I could have gotten the chance to see, shows flyered and marketed to me by friends and strangers and shows which just piqued my interest. I’d review all the shows if I could. Well, maybe not all. I barely slept as it was (like, I literally didn’t sleep on my penultimate night – I went clubbing instead and walked up Arthur’s Seat to watch the sunrise).
Overall, I had a great time. There’s truly nothing quite like the Fringe, a hotbed of arts, creativity and deliriousness across an entire month. You make good friends and see good shows by complete chance, you can see some true trash that’ll stick with you for years to come, and you make unabashedly unique memories which will never leave you. I very much look forward to returning in a year to reunite with friends and see what new and exciting shows they’ve come up with, and do the same thing all over again. Anybody wanna lend us a TARDIS?
Filmmaker. Casual Reviewer.