Celebrate 70 Years of Creative Freedom the Edinburgh Fringe Festival
The world’s largest arts festival is about to celebrate its 70-year anniversary. The Edinburgh Fringe Festival (Aug. 4-28) has been showcasing the eccentricities of art and culture since 1947, a true landmark for the famed Scottish event. As an internationally recognized event, Fringe has since bled into over two hundred cities around the world which host their own sister events, allowing artists everywhere to experience the true creative freedom Fringe is known for. Their slogan this year: “70 years of defying the norm.”
The festival designates its shows into categories: theater, comedy, dance, physical theater, circus, cabaret, children’s shows, musicals, opera, music, spoken word, exhibitions and events. While this may seem like a lot to take in, and it is, the Fringe app has all you need to know in one spot. Schedules, tickets, bus routes and more can all be found on their app, making it easy to navigate this seemingly complex and massive event. Not only is this an event for fans to take in a plethora of artistic platforms normally unseen by the average observer, but artists have used Fringe as a means to take their careers to the next level. Comedians in particular have used Fringe as a sort of television audition, often leaving the event with a TV executive’s business card in hand. Comedy, in fact, has become one of the highlights over the years, assisted by the Edinburgh Comedy Awards.
Here are a few shows to keep an eye out for this month, comedy and otherwise:
“Thrones! The Musical” is back for the third year in a row featuring all the death and sex fans of the HBO series “Game of Thrones” have come to expect. Coming in at just over an hour long, “Thrones!” is a twisted parody of song and dance not to be missed.
“Sasquatch: The Opera” might sound like a comedy, but in fact, it’s a tragic love story about a family who’s made a living selling the tale of the famed woodland monster only to one day come face-to-face with the actual beast.
“Andrew Maxwell: Showtime” is all about topical comedy. In an era where uncertainty reigns supreme, Maxwell’s learned one thing, “that you shouldn’t take anything for granted and he’s certainly not going to start with you.” Most will know his voice as the narrator of MTV’s hit reality show “Ex On The Beach,” but for Fringe, it’s all about comedy.
“Sean Patton: Number One” features the New Orleans-based comedian bringing his own version of hipster anxiety to Edinburgh. As a proud flawed human being, Patton is just as comfortable poking fun of himself as he is those around him.
“Circa: Humans” shows that the art of acrobatics is not dead, but very much thriving. This Australian troop will shock and awe with their unique abilities to move, stack and even fly the human body. Audience members will be at the same time thrilled and stunned.
“The Black Cat” is a collaborative production from three U.K. theater companies which retells the story of Edgar Allan Poe’s short story. These performers will ignite a sense of worry that they may in fact be losing their minds on stage right before your eyes, but in fact, they’re diving headfirst into hilarious darkness.
While in Edinburgh, you’ll want to take advantage of the pristine old-world architecture that engulfs the city. Many hotels in the urban center have converted the insides of these masterpieces of antique engineering into stunning modern hotels. The Rutland Hotel, for example, lies in the heart of the capital and features a different aesthetic in each of the 12 rooms. The history of the city is right out the window, literally – The Rutland offers stark views of the historic Edinburgh Castle. Another micro-gem of a hotel is 21212. Chef Paul Kitching runs a Michelin star restaurant on the ground floor, renowned for their modern interpretations of French cooking. But head upstairs and you’ll discover an equally elegant world of contemporary bedrooms. Four separate rooms are housed here featuring sophisticated décor amongst views of downtown and the property’s backyard garden. If you’re looking to truly go back in time, head to The Witchery. Sitting at the foot of the aforementioned Edinburgh Castle, this restaurant and hotel is absolutely otherworldly. Again, offering a modest amount of rooms (9 to be exact), The Witchery is at the same time quirky and charming, with a flood of old-world feels.
Like the city itself, Fringe is a true experience. Not only is Edinburgh wrapped in history and surrounded by stunning natural wonders, but during the month of August, the city transforms into a true wonderland of expression. Chief Executive of the Edinburgh Festival Fringe Society Shona McCarthy sums up what it means to celebrate seven decades of this event in 2017: “Fringe is, of course, tremendous fun, but in a global climate of uncertainty, this year we place particular value on this open access, uncensored, joyous explosion of creative voices that transports us annually through the widest range of human perspectives. Here’s to 70 more years…!