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The Ultimate Guide to Edinburgh Fringe – Part One

The Edinburgh Festival Fringe runs from the 4 - 28 August 2017 across the city.

It’s a famous staple in the comedy, theatre and arts calendar, as eclectic acts from across the globe congregate in the Scottish capital for a vibrant showcase. It has been 70 years since Edinburgh first hosted the Festival Fringe, an open-access alternative to the selective Edinburgh International Festival. It has since grown into the world’s largest celebration of arts, simultaneously spawning over 200 sister fringes worldwide.

As Chief Executive Shona McCarthy asks: “Who could have predicted that this spark would be the catalyst for fringe festivals on every continent expect Antartica, providing crucial platforms for the international exchange of ideas, discovery and innovation? An alliance of defiance in every sense.”

And what sticks it to the norm more than comedy? The expressive, hilarious and often surprising art remains one of the biggest pulls to the city. Comedy fans arrive in their droves to witness the best emerging talent, as well as very special turns by some of the most established names.

But where to start? What to see? What to do?

With so much going on, we’ve teamed up with some of our favourite comedians to find out how to make the most of this year’s Edinburgh Festival Fringe.


Abigoliah Schamaun

 

Ultimate Edinburgh Fringe tip
It’s not sexy advice but with the amount of late night eating and take-aways paired with the booze and erratic sleep patterns. Take fiber pills. Your stomach and colon will thank you for it. And that way you can clear the tank for for more bad food and pints!

Places to visit
I heard there’s a great little dark room to take in a show that’s funny, irreverent, and silly. It’s in the room…oh, what’s it called, THE BELLY LAUGH!!! That’s it!! But you can only get there at 19:40 at night and only for an hour. I’ve heard that’s a good place to sit.

Biggest must-see
Tomás Ford: Craptacular at 17:00 in the Gilded Balloon. I see him every year and he’s a loud, weird, hilarious sweaty Australian cabaret artist the blows my socks off every time.

Abigoliah Schamaun performs Nameste, Bitches at Underbelly from 3 – 27 August at 19:40.


Al Murray

 

Ultimate Edinburgh Fringe tip
Go and see something you’ve never heard of. It might be brilliant, there might be no one else there, but this is the core of the Fringe and how all the big names off telly you’re tempted to see started out.

Places to visit
The Royal Mile for all your leaflet and musical theatre student needs.

Biggest must-see
The Doug Anthony Allstars are back after last year’s return to the Fringe. Comedy’s undisputed kings of the ring, by far the best thing you’ll ever see.

Al Murray performs The Pub Landlord’s Saloon at Assembly Geroge Square Gardens from 17 – 27 August at 18:15.


Brennan Reece

 

Ultimate Edinburgh Fringe tip
Plan your day. Start with a crepe. End with a crepe. Have some crepes in between. Oh and wear comfortable shoes!

Places to visit
I would say make sure you visit Ting Thai Caravan. Nicest food I’ve had. It was underneath my flat last year and I think I may have put on about 3 stone. Worth it though.

Biggest must-see
Spencer Jones. If you want to smile and feel like you’re 6 years old again… go and see that.

Brennan Reece performs Everlong at Pleasance Courtyard from 2 – 27 August 2017 at 18:00.


Carl Donnelly

 

Ultimate Edinburgh Fringe tip
Bring a good waterproof jacket. It’s a very boring Dad bit of advice but as someone who has spent a lot of time at the Fringe I can categorically say it’ll change your festival. As an audience member it’s horrible getting soaked and then going into a hot sweaty room for an hour to watch a show. The flip side of that is for us performers it’s hard work going out to see a room full of people with steam coming off of them as they’ve been drenched on the way to your show and are now in a sweaty theatre!

Places to visit
It’s actually just outside the city but I love popping to Duddingston Loch during the fringe. It’s the other side of Arthur’s Seat (which I also recommend) and is a lovely tranquil world away from the carnage of the Fringe.

Biggest must-see
Hannah Gadsby. I’ve heard excellent things about her show so I’ll be seeing it on the opening night of the Fringe.

Carl Donnelly performs The Nutter On The Bus at The Blunda Bus from 3 -27 August at 19:30.


Chris Turner

 

Ultimate Edinburgh Fringe tip
The Fringe is tiring – all that walking to and from shows, up and down hills – so schedule a break. There’s no better place than The Brass Monkey, where I spent a lot of time on my second trip to the Fringe in 2008. Every day at 15:00, they screen a film for free. You all crowd onto a huge bed (I’m not joking) and whoever’s there first picks the movie. Grab a pint, a sandwich and watch something that’s probably being performed down the road, but as a musical.

Places to visit
Maison de Moggy on Grassmarket. It’s a cat café, where the adorable Guillaume (a very dignified gent), Elodie (a hairless, pink alien), and many more tremendously friendly felines provide the perfect tonic to a stressful Edinburgh day. I’ll be away from my cat (the noble Colonel Widdershins) for the whole month, so shall be stopping by for the occasional belly rub and cat-paw-ccino (I don’t know if they call it this, but they should).

Biggest must-see
Obviously Joseph Morpurgo is incredible and brilliant and always has been, but he’s no longer the ‘underground tip’ that I feel I should be offering. So, Daniel Nil Roberts: The Causeway it is – viking-based character comedy from the funniest person I know.

Chris Turner performs What a Time to Be Alive at Pleasance Courtyard from 2 – 27 August at 21:45.


Daniel Sloss

 

Ultimate Edinburgh Fringe tip
Go see as many shows as you can and take a punt on some. See a comedian you’ve never heard of.

Places to visit
Anywhere festivally. Assembly Gardens or the Underbelly Pastures.

Biggest must-see
Nick Cody, Kai Humphries, Gareth Waugh, Mark Nelson, Demi Lardner…

Daniel Sloss performs NOW at Venue150 at EICC between 3 – 27 August at 21:00.


Deadpan Theatre

Ultimate Edinburgh Fringe tip
Mack: Treat the 2-for-1 days like a Famous Five expedition of the utmost importance. Pack snacks, use the buddy system.
Salt: Except maybe the Famous Four because of the whole 2 for 1 thing.
Mack: There are 4 people in the Famous Five, one of them was a dog .
Salt: The dog can’t come.
Mack: The dog is weighing you down, cut the dog.
Salt: No animals were harmed in the making of this interview.

Places to visit
Salt: Mosque Kitchen. Any hour of the day, breakfast, lunch or dinner. Commiserating or celebrating. Get that curry in you and all will be well.
Mack: If you are drunk enough and have lasted long enough, the trek up to Arthur’s Seat for the sunrise is quite a moment. Ensure you take on enough alcohol to remain numb and hazy all the way to the top. Do not sober up ten minutes before the peak. That can end a relationship.
Salt: Yeah… the Mosque Kitchen is lovely.

Biggest must see
Mack: Zoe Coombs Marr, Adrienne Truscott and Ursula Martinez in Wild Bore.
Salt: YES! We loved Zoe’s show last year and the idea of her teaming up with some more brilliant women and ripping apart criticism sounds like a dream.
Mack: An angry, scary, hilarious dream.

Deadpan Theatre perform Third Wheel at Gilded Balloon, Dining Room from 2 -27 August at 14:00.


Drennon Davis

 

Ultimate Edinburgh Fringe tip
Fun tip: Keep an eye out for old hidden radios and boomboxes planted around town. Some of them have free American propaganda and tickets to my show inside.

Places to visit
The first year that I did my show, Imaginary Radio at the fringe, I stayed in Leith. I’d walk home at 5 in the morning with the rest of the zombie drunks, stopping only to pee or go to my favourite pie shop. They had the best steak pies that money could buy at that ungodly hour. The customers are what made it really interesting though. They served a mix of drunk kids and people who work early in the morning.

The pies were so good that it brought an odd comradery to the eclectic group. You could easily be standing next to an inebriated clown and a fifty-five year-old postman in uniform, all bonding over mac n cheese pies. I really wish I remembered the name of that place. Tweet at me @drennondavis if you know the place. It was close to the Sound n Vision store in Leith.

Also, go to Sound n Vision. Bowie owned it, maybe!

Biggest must-see
I don’t know a lot of the shows going on yet but I will say that I was just on a show in LA with Sam Simmons and Natalie Palamedes. They are amazing and I think they’re going to crush the fringe, per usual.

Drennon Davis performs The Imaginary Radio Programme at Just The Tonic, The Cask Room from 3 – 27 August at 17:00.


Dru Wakley – The Midnight Beast

 

Ultimate Edinburgh Fringe tip
My tip would be to make sure you pack suncream, an umbrella AND a rain coat. You just never know which season you’ll face up there.

Places to visit
Favourite place in the city people should visit is Tempting Tattie on Jeffry Street. They are just the biggest, best potatoes EVER.

Biggest must see
My biggest must-sees this year are my own show All Killer, Bitchelors by Anna Morris, The Dark Room and of course Inundated by my BF Lloyd Griffith!

The Midnight Beast perform All Killer at Pleasance Dome from 2 – 28 August at 20:30.


Ed Gamble

 

Ultimate Festival Fringe tip
Give yourself time to make the next show. I love that people want to see as many shows as possible, but most people seem to forget that the venues might take some time to get between. So if you see a show that finishes at 8, don’t book to see another show that starts at 8. Because that’s not how time / distance work.

Places to visit
Plenty, but I won’t tell anyone where they are as they are too precious. Let’s just send them to the Apple Store and we can have restaurants like Spoon to ourselves… oh no I’ve given it away.

Biggest must-see
Choosing one is extremely hard. One look through the brochure and I have already earmarked 50 shows to see. If you twisted my arm I would say Tom Neenan. He’s a whip smart writer and brilliant performer who does gag dense, multi character stories. This year show is about the life of David Attenborough – what’s not to be excited about?

Ed Gamble performs Mammoth at Pleasance Courtyard from 2 – 27 August at 19:15.


Gein’s Family Giftshop

 

Ultimate Festival Fringe tip
Make sure to go in August for the most concentrated fringe experience, some people go at other times of the year, and that’s cool but those in the know go in August where the shows are ripest. Also don’t use the sewers as a shortcut. Everyone’s caught on to this now and it’s as busy underground as it is overground. If you want an easy way to move among the crowds and not get slowed down, we recommend being rude.

Places to visit
Tough call, it’s between the little toilet in the Pleasance Courtyard that’s great for having panic attacks and IBS in. Or, Arthur’s seat. Also great for the squits and panics. However if they’re fully booked then it’s pretty cool to head down to the old city they buried and try and sell wigs or tobacco.

Biggest must-see
There’s too many to just choose one, so follow your damn heart. If it looks good, try it, if someone says it’s good, try it. Don’t eat, don’t sleep, just try it.

Gein’s Family Giftshop perform Volume 3 at Pleasance Courtyard from 2 – 28 August at 22:20.


Want more? Of course you do. Read Part Two here.

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