Born out of rejection and anarchic in style and content, The Edinburgh Fringe Festival is off and running madly this year. Beginning on the 1st of August, the Fringe Festival, self-styled ‘the greatest show on earth’ has once again brought a vast array of talent and shows to Edinburgh like so many moths to the bright stage bulbs.
This year the show is bigger than ever. The Fringe will give audiences a choice of 3,193 productions from 47 countries, and 49,497 performances in 299 venues. That once again reaffirms Fringe’s status as the largest arts festival in the world – and this year it got bigger. Whatever your taste in the arts, you are bound to find something suitable for your taste buds and maybe more! You will see stuff that you will probably not see anywhere else.
The Fringe will have you feeling you are spinning round at the end of a bungee cord. The festival is one huge dizzying array of shows and events that pop up at you from every corner, pub and even a former veterinary hospital. Conventional theatres and venues are still the place to get your art thrills. New venues have been opened to accommodate the increased entries, such as the La Belle Angèle on Cowgate and the Famous Spiegeltent will be located in St Andrew’s Square, alongside Stand in the Square, and a brand new open air stage.
However, the Festival is also taking theatre to the streets as well. You will find pianists plink-plonking in the middle of the street; brightly colour-costumed acrobats cartwheel past you; Brazilian dancers sashay and swivel past and are soon lost in the whole seemingly chaotic jamboree.
The Festival Fringe has no selection process and is open for anyone to present any type of work. That is a great recipe for off-the-wall, quirky performances and eclectic shows showcasing the vision of the performers from all across the world. Many are amateurs, many trying to break into the big time and some are big names too. They include Dame Diana Rigg, Jeremy Paxman, Glen Matlock, Clive Anderson, Pamela Stephenson, Nancy Dell’olio and actress Anne Archer, playing Jane Fonda.. It’s great for them too – they can network and meet theatre movers and shakers, cross-pollinate ideas and have fun at the same time.
As the Fringe goes merrily into its second week, some awards have already been presented. The Scotsman Fringe First round winners were announced. There are two more rounds to be announced. The 2014 Fringe Sustainable Practice Award winners have also been named.
The organisers say that more than 60% of the shows are either comedy or theatre with circus and physical theatre growing categories that are popular with audiences. There are shows about Scottish independence, the 100th anniversary of the World War One and even the Commonwealth Games.
It is difficult to choose and decide what to see but some shows have become standout. These are KlangHaus, Ganesh Versus the Third Reich, Zulu Ballet and The War (an examination of the psychological effects of World War I, the disturbing living sculptures of Exhibit B).
Regardless of the categories, there are an endless array of events, performances and spectacles to experience and enjoy, and most certainly expand your artistic horizons.