In the words of Papa Leej 'Edinburgh Fringe is where Disney meets Ibiza for performers'. With over 3,000 different shows to choose from you see the good, the bad and the very VERY ugly - but let's not talk about that. Alternatively let us discuss the crème de la crème, the cream of the crop, the cherry on top of the pie, the apple of everyones eye (well my eye at least), the pick of litter, the best of the best. Enough. You get the idea, onwards and upwards, here are my top 5...
5 other faves
Quite possibly the funniest show I’ve come across this year. Austentatious is an entirely improvised play captivating the style of all things Jane Austen. Based wholly on a title given to them by the audience, it allows for all kinds of hilarity to ensue. I experienced the production of ‘Enema, Eminem and Emma’, and yes, there was an Austen style rap battle featuring Dr Dre-Fuss. Not forgetting a voyage to Nepal to meet the legendary Grandmaster Flash. Need I say more? Apart from, book your tickets ASAP as they are selling like hot cakes! If you don't happen to be at the Fringe, don't fear, this lot get around, so catch them in London or on tour. Do get with the times and give them a scandalous follow on twitter @AustenImprov Catch them at the Udderbelly George Square from the 6th-31st of August at 1.15pm, book your tickets here.
2) The Elephant In The Room
What separates The Elephant in the Room from other shows at the circus hub is their extreme precision. Skills are executed seamlessly, making it not so much about the talent of the ‘trick’ - as it were - but their ability to marry both the circus element and the narrative together. All four members of Cirque Le Roux have performed in broadway’s Tony award winning production of Pippin, which hopefully gives you a small snippet of just how talented this cast really are. Transport yourselves back to the Autumn of 1937 and discover what really is the elephant in the room… See them in all kinds of positions at the Circus Hub from the 7th-29th of August at 8.35pm, book here.
Some might say this is cheating as I actually saw this trio last year. Say what you want. They are blooming fantastic. This show made me both cry and laugh - For the record I am not much of a crier. So bravo. What’s so beautiful to watch is how circus is used as a medium to depict the modern-day male friendship. Barely Methodical Troupe fuse the everyday elements of a bromance from backslaps into backflips with such grace and even elegance, drawing a fine line between what is bromance and romance. Never does it quite reach romance however, instead you fall in love with the three performers friendship. Ticket sales suggest I’m not their only fan, so if they happen to have any tickets left at all, get booking now. NOW. On at the Circus Hub from the 7th-29th of August at 6.25pm. Book here. If you can't catch the show give these cheeky lads a follow @BMTroupe to find out where they're heading to next.
Hunting for some original work? I’d suggest catching the 2015 recipients of the Les Enfants Terribles Award - Fine Mess Theatre. ‘Divas’ is a modern love story with a twist. Sharing similarities with The Last Five Years, one of the couple (Damien) moves forward and one (Adam) moves backwards through their relationship. However, as they pass by each other in time it becomes apparent that all is not as it seems… The whole story is tied together using "Diva" music from the 60s & 70s in new arrangements and sung a cappella by a girl-group who also inform and comment on the two differing versions of the love story. If this doesn’t take your fancy, they happen to have another show as well, Islands. I'd suggest going for the double bill, because, well, let's be honest two shows are better than one right? Catch Islands at the Underbelly Cowgate from the 6th-30th August at 12.10pm followed by Divas at the Pleasance Dome from 5th-31st August at 2.40pm. Go on give em a follow on twitter @FineMessTheatre.
5) Aaand Now For Something Completely Improvised
Similar to Austentacious, Racing Minds production is completely made up in front of your very eyes. A forgetful grandfather is desperately trying to remember a story, with little luck he turns to the audience for guidance… Our audience conjured up the title ‘The Big Bang’ situated in a lightbulb underground. There are non-stop laughs created by the cast of 5 who revel in intellectual jousting. Aimed as a family show it has the perfect mix of costumes and gimmicks to keep the children entertained whilst the constant wit goes above and beyond their heads. The added bonus of free sweets is fun for all the family. Who knows what will happen next time... find out at the Pleasance Dome from the 5th-31st at 12.00pm, book here. They are also rather hilarious on twitter, follow as the wit continues online @Racing_Minds.
So there you have it my top 5 pickeroos from the Edinburgh Fringe Festival so far. If you have any recommendations do let me know, I'm always on the hunt.
Before I leave you, let us just take a moment to reflect on Barbu. Now, where do I begin? Frankly I'm just going to write some words... hamster, rollerblades, nakedness, sambuca. Actually scrap that, let's call it experimental. If you fancy being strangely entertained, emphasis on the strange, then hit the circus hub at 9.50pm.
For now it's goodbye, see you soon.