In August Edinburgh is taken over by the Fringe festival, the International Festival, the Jazz & Blues festival ooh lots of festivals. I’m sure most people know that Edinburgh hosts one of the biggest arts and comedy festivals in the world over the few weeks in August. Lots of people will have been, it is now one of Edinburgh-ers favourite facts to let people know that the population of our small city doubles in size during August. It is busy, busy, busy – Edinburgh is often busy but never like somewhere like London except perhaps during this month where you start to try to work out the easiest routes to places avoiding the Royal Mile (which is difficult as I live on one side and work on the other).
I work at the University of Edinburgh which hosts many venues, in fact each year they seem to squirrel more in – at some point I am sure that we will find a play being performed in the toilet in the office 🙂 Over the next couple of years McEwan Hall is being refurbished and changed to increase its usage, it should be wonderful when completed and McEwan Hall was ever so slightly falling down! Anyway that side note explains why all the tented festival venues have moved into the gardens near our office along with the shows happening in one of the lecture theatre and the other tents in the Meadows. The noise from shows, singers practising and drummers warming up is great and the food trucks are helping me put on a layer of winter fat.
I tend to leave the city for a week each August simply to keep my head and frankly some money – I won’t lie the festivals are expensive once you start adding them up. I always make sure to see a couple of shows and I do love circus acrobatic shows so I jumped at the chance to see Circa this year. My mates have seen them before but this was my first show and it was entitled Close Up. I thoroughly enjoyed it although I am immediately biased once I see someone doing the Chinese pole work! It was great, really engaging and I gasped at least twenty times. If you get a chance to see them I would recommend them.
There other show I saw was one I have seen for three years running and I would rate the show really highly – Austentatious. An improvised Jane Austen comedy play. Each day they ask the audience to give titles of “lost” Austen novels and pick one to improvise. I have laughed so hard my sides have hurt at each of their shows I have seen, they are really talented performers.
Obviously there are thousands of shows to choose from and if you do come to Edinburgh I recommend reading the reviews pasted up at Bristo Square and online at the main Edinburgh Fringe site plus Broadway Baby. If you do come please ignore the harassed locals – we do love the festival just sometimes when you are off to a work meeting getting asked for the billionth time to see a free comedy show gets a little tiring 🙂