There’s been a mad scramble among The Wee Review writers to claim the shows they want to review at the Fringe. There’s over 3000 to choose from, but they don’t all have quite the same appeal. So we asked a few of the team to quickly tell us what they’re looking forward to most at this year’s Fringe…
I’m a free fringe man at heart (in all its incarnations). I love the mad, randomness of it, the uneasy sense that you could be about to see anything – an edge you no longer often get in the paid fringe when the curatorial bar is set less precariously, if not necessarily higher. Gimme a pub back room with a man pretending to be a drunk lion (Chris Davis, back again this year) over the buzz sketch show at one of the Big Four venues any day. I expect to be loitering around the free hubs of Canongate, West Nicolson Street and Voodoo Rooms, even if the bar prices at the latter make a nonsense of doing the Fringe on the cheap.
Let’s be honest. I am most looking forward to Hot Dub Time Machine, but if I was being classy I would say I’m all about the comedy this year. I’m expecting big things from Trevor Noah’s Lost in Translation. Noah was recently appointed the new host of the USA’s The Daily Show and seemed to have come out of nowhere. The charmingly racist South African is definitely one to watch.
I am mostly looking forward to seeing a lot of the diverse and engaging spoken word shows at this year’s Fringe. Shift/ – A Best of Spoken Word at Summerhall looks really interesting with seven artists bringing a different show to the stage for each day of the week. Summerhall is also the venue for What I Learned About Johnny Bevan, the theatre debut from Spoken Word artist Luke Wright. He will have a busy Fringe with his latest poetry show Luke Wright: Stay at Home Dandy at the Underbelly.
The production characteristics that float my boat are anything (a) historical, (b) musical, or (c) a little bit sexy (I’m a single mum, cut me some slack). Last August, I kicked myself for not making it to Dyad Productions’ acclaimed performance of Dalloway, so this year, I’ll be in the front row of I, Elizabeth. It was a hit for Dyad in 2010, but claims to be especially relevant in our current political climate. Whether it is or no, a one-woman performance about a young queen living on the knife-edge of the desire/duty paradigm sounds right up my street. Keeping with the female monologue theme, my wildcard this year is Confessions of a Redheaded Coffeeshop Girl at Gilded Balloon. Why? I like the picture. Besides, I have a thing for redheads.
La Clique, at the Famous Spiegeltent, epitomises all that is great about Edinburgh during the festival: show-stopping, mesmerising, funny, terrifying, glitzy, spectacular entertainment. It is my highlight of the festival. Despite the familiarity of the show, however, it is completely different every year and, like the proverbial box of chocolates, you never know what you’re going to get. Trapeze artists? Comedians? Ventriloquists? Roller skaters? Gymnasts? Singers? I can’t wait to find out!
Contemporary circus and physical theatre are growing from strength to strength and you’re spoilt for choice in this year’s Fringe programme. Testament to this is Underbelly’s brand new Circus Hub venue. It features the superb Limbo which, if you missed it as part of Edinburgh’s Christmas, is very much worth a visit for a variety of different circus acts and live music. And proving just how far contemporary circus has come is B-Orders, presented by Palestinian Circus Company in association with Aurora Nova. This show features circus and dance performance by Ashtar Muallem and Fadi Zmorrod, exploring the absence of freedom and the desire to escape the multitude of codes, orders and borders dominating the Palestinian society.