Edinburgh: Fringe and Tattoo.

How does one best spend summer in the UK? In the heat and humidity of the British air, together with the hustle and bustle of the Olympics in London, one might think of escaping to the continent to just catch a breath of fresh air. 

Not quite.

The exciting months of July to September are a great opportunity to stay in the UK, up north. Yes, I am talking about Scotland with its nommy, heart-stopping haggis, dislike of everything English (a shared interest with the French!) and seemingly incomprehensible accents. The air is unquestionably fresher and has a buzz to it. And that buzz I am referring to are the Edinburgh festivities, notably the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, the Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo and the Edinburgh International Book Festival. (Hillwalkers and whisky-guzzlers, you may adjourn.)

The Edinburgh Fringe Festival

The Fringe, as the festival is known in short, is the world's largest arts festival, renowned for being the focal point for creative talent within the UK and beyond. At the Fringe, there are a wide range of events held in every nook and cranny of the Scottish capital. By that, I mean pubs, bars, bistros, streets, thoroughfares, clubs... Really, you cannot turn a corner without seeing something going on - that's how concentrated all that activity is. 

Performances include dance, theatre, cabaret and children's shows. But the main drawing points of the Fringe is comedy - some of the best comedians started out in Edinburgh at the very same festival and even now, to be part of the Fringe as a comedian is like a badge of honour and/or a rite of passage. 

One of the most brilliant things about the Fringe is the diversity in tastes to which it appeals. It is not an understatement to say that there is literally something for everyone, whether you are young or old, rich or poor, intellectual or otherwise... When I was there with my companion, we only went for the free non-ticketed events (there are also free ticketed and pay-for-entry events) at the pubs and even those were of very high quality. Can you even start to imagine how good the pay-for-entry ones would be? As a side-note, while free non-ticketed events are advertised as such in the Fringe programme catalogue (free for picking up across the city - how awesome is that?!), you are encouraged to donate to defray the costs of travelling to Edinburgh by the performers. There's no minimum sum to give but it's always nice to donate, especially if you are left in stitches from laughing at the end of the show :)

If you are in Edinburgh any time between the 3rd and 27th August this year (next year's Fringe is from the 2nd to 26th August), here are some of the free non-ticketed shows that my companion and I really loved and can get you started:

Blues and Burlesque - As the name suggests, it is a burlesque show with R&B songs played by Pete Saunders. The West End comedic duo, comprising Vicious Delicious and Bouncy Hunter, dance and undress to the mesmerising blues of Saunders and sing ruefully about lovers' betrayals and romantic anguish. (Aug 2-17; 14:45-15:45) 

Ryan Withers - One Woman Showe - You might have guessed it. Yes, it is a drag queen comedy that deals with the theme on being different. My female companion found him irresistibly charismatic and sought to fantasize about him during the weekend we were there. I found him funny and attractive but not in the you-know-what-I-mean sort of way... (Aug 3-26; 17:35-18:30)

James and Amy: Dysfunctional Legends - A guy and a girl's takes on being single and at the brink of 3-0, mishaps and disastrous forays in all their dirty-linen glory. I loved the rapport and spontaneity that they had with the crowd and between themselves. Thoroughly entertaining and, in some ways, resonating, with any person who has reached or passed that point in life! (Aug 3-11, 13-25; 22:35-23:35)

The Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo

One of the biggest military band performances in the world involving "displays of precision drill, and re-enactments of historic pageants and modern military skills". It is approximately two hours long and resembles our National Day Parade in some respects. Not a cheap performance, though - a seat with average views costs 35 GBP... In that respect, a lot more expensive than our NDP.

Entrance and Fanfare

Pre-Ops Briefing :P


  1. One day i want to go to Fringe Festival. I read Fry, Laurie and Monty Python have been thru it before.



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