Another August, another Edinburgh Fringe Festival. Our families, extended families and friends have a great tradition of meeting up each year at the fringe. This year was no disappointment. I love going to the theatre and seeing musicals, tap and ballet dance. I also love going to see science or Sci-Fi shows. With the range of amazing shows on clearly the fringe is the place for me!
This year I managed to go to see shows covering data science, wolverine, coding, tap dance, interdimensionality, maths, classic Sci-Fi, parallel universes and computer games to list just the main categories. Not a bad haul. I also experienced torrential rain, freezing temperatures, impressive thunder and blistering heat. Just your traditional Edinburgh experience! If you're going to the fringe and want my top picks, then read on.
It was good to see data science and coding making an appearance at the fringe. I went to an exhibition at the Bayes Centre and to a play about a coder working at a dating web site. The Bayes Centre is the new building where the University of Edinburgh has opened an innovation hub for data science and artificial intelligence. They have put all their data science practitioners into one building and created an incubator to nurture new businesses. If you are looking to set up a start up in Scotland, this is the place for you. The data science exhibition was small, but interesting and you should go and check out the karma kettle.
What is the fringe without a maths show I hear you cry, indeed! This year’s maths show was brought to me by ‘Matt Parker: Humble Pi’. I came across the Festival of the Spoken Nerd, of which Matt is a member, at the fringe a couple of years ago when one of them was flyering with the catchphrase 'like maths jokes?', to which the answer of course the answer is yes! I thoroughly enjoyed this show taking you through various times in real life where maths has been abused with hilarious consequences.
I think Rutene Spooner wrote ‘Super Hugh-Man’ just for me. He covered Wolverine, mutants, musical theatre (with tap dancing), Haka (and high kicks) and Maori songs all in one show, and he was an amazing performer. I loved the nods to the famous musicals and X-men films throughout and thoroughly enjoyed myself. The best bit was finally seeing ‘Wolverine the musical’. I have been waiting for this since they announced Hugh Jackman was playing Wolverine and the wait was not in vain. Ok, it was only the 5 min preview, but please make it into a full production, I will be there on the front row every night.
‘YOU AWAKE TO FIND YOURSELF IN A DARK ROOM’ are the immortal words shouted by ‘John Robertson: The Dark Room’. This is the second time I’ve seen The Dark Room, but it still stands as one of the most entertaining things I have ever seen, and it is different every time. I saw it a couple of years ago at the Bournemouth Arts Festival, and have since been frequently seen sporting my ‘flamboyant potato’ t-shirt. Think live action text adventure insult comedy amazingness and you are heading on the right lines of what you will experience. A must see for everyone in my opinion, and everyone can see it as there is an adult and kids’ version.
Dance is readily available at the fringe, but not always tap. As a tap dancing connoisseur, I can assure you that good tap dancing shows are hard to find. I was worried this year, as my usual fix of amazing rhythm tap comes from Old Kent Road, but they are not here this year, however I did manage to get 2 good tap shows in. ‘The Tap Pack’ were a thoroughly entertaining singing and tapping group from Australia, dancing to the swing classics and putting on a great show. ‘Noise Boys’ were more rhythm tap inspired and spiced their show up with live music, inspiring beat boxing, rapping and singing.
I saw too many shows to discuss all of them in detail, so here are the other shows I saw and enjoyed but that didn’t make it into my categories, accompanied by a one-line review. In no particular order:
- Cruel Intentions: The '90s Musical (Placebo sung in musical theatre style, yes please)
- Legally Blonde the Musical (Yes, girls are meant to do a lot more than smile)
- Jekyll and Hyde (Loose re-telling of Jekyll and Hyde in bad French accents with superb audience participation that will make you laugh till it hurts)
- The Three Deaths of Ebony Black (Stunning puppetry, wonderful story, beautifully performed)
- Unexpected Item in the Bagging Area (New musical with a sinister twist unexpected from its cheery title, well performed as usual from the Cambridge Musical Theatre Group)
- Unfortunate: The Untold Story of Ursula the Sea Witch (The grown up parody of the little mermaid, beautifully written and performed by Fat Rascal Theatre)
Sadly, that is it for me at the Fringe 2019, roll on 2020!