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Monday, 2 September, 2002, 14:35 GMT 15:35 UK
Edinburgh: Your festival views
The Edinburgh festival is billed as the biggest, and often best, arts extravaganza in the world.
It is made up of five events - the Fringe, the international festival and the jazz, book, film and TV festivals.
Each year brings a number of hilarious and scathing press reviews. But we want to know what you think of Edinburgh's festival.
If you have been in the past, did you have a good time and what were the great or terrible shows you saw?
And if you are going this year, send us your short reviews.
Boothby Graftoe was hilarious, and Geoffrey from Rainbow was also great but the highlight would have to be Sophie. A funny but fantastically moving play that displays good coming of a genuine tragedy.
Amazed no one has mentioned the two best shows on the Fringe - Derevo's La Divina Commedia and a guy called Giles Brandreth in Zip - great mickey-take on all those great musicals. Truly superb, both!
Two major highlights for me this year were Angels Of The Universe from the Icelandic Takeaway Theatre and Terra Folk, the Slovenian folk Trio - outstanding entertainment!!
I've just returned home after four packed days at the Fringe, and it was absolutely fantastic. I'd never been before, but the atmosphere along the Royal Mile, the huge diversity of things available and the fact that there's no better way to spend a day than at show after show, mean that I'll definitely be back for years to come.
I've got a couple of particular recommendations: Ross Noble's "Sonic Waffle", which had me crying with laughter at times, and, in a completely different vein, "Goering's Defence" at the Assembly Rooms. The latter is so well-performed and written to discomfort you enough to think hard - a definite recommendation.
It's fantastic! I'm going next week for the fourth year running - the sheer choice of entertainment means you can be busy all day from Shakespeare for Breakfast (With coffee and croissants) to Late 'n' Live. The best late night show is Sonnie Mann's chapel of Karaoke...Brilliant!
Some brilliant stuff on this year!
Side By Side By Sondheim and Bash and The Latterday Plays are excellent - can't believe either of them are student companies! Both of those are closing on Sat so do try and see them if you're up. Merrily We Roll Along and I Love You You're Perfect, Now Change are both fab too!
Having been to the Fringe two years in a row I can safely say its been one of the best experiences of my life. How many other places could you say you have sat on stage, holding a microwave, as part of Noble & Silver's act in one show, and walked 100 metres down the road, on the same night and witnessed Trev & Simon riding around on stage on scooters?
And that's just the comedy.
Festival, Smestival. It's one of the main reason's why I left the city. Italians flock around every fast food outlet, ra-ra toffs fill your regular pubs. Arrrrrrrrrgghhhh!!!
Derek Collie, USA
Being a Fringe regular now, I have to say
that it just keeps getting better. It's still a
bit rough around the edges, only to
be expected from such freedom of performance.
We went to see The Unexpected Man and for a
fiver we were treated to a performance
ten times better than the London equivalent!
The fringe is a great way to see as many new and up and coming acts as possible, instead of putting up with the usual famous acts who dominate all comic venues. The show Watch Yourself There Now was brilliant fun which I doubt many big name acts could match.
I always go to the Fringe on the look out for the smaller acts. For many of them Edinburgh is the performing highlight of their year and it's a chance to get noticed and hit the big-time. Tony Kvetch, Sonny Earle, Gunter V, the list is endless of the comedians who've not been famous but have been very funny. Please support the up-and-coming - it's worth it.
As there are so many shows on at the festival, it is very difficult to know what to go and see - I think it would be a great idea to be able to buy a type of season ticket that allowed festival goers into many different shows for the first week for a one-off cost of say £50.
That way, a lot of shows probably wouldn't be playing to empty venues and the paying public would get the chance to see lots of performances - looks like a win-win situation to me
Maybe it's time to unearth the next Tommy Tiernan, Dylan Moran or Sean Hughes. Dan Antonpolski, Brendon Burns, Danny Bhoy amongst others - we are watching.
I saw Tony Winn doing his Singing in the Bath show at South Bridge Resource Centre last Thursday. Very funny, great music, short show at an hour but a bargain at £5. As Alan says, it's worth taking some risks away from the TV stars.
I was lucky enough to visit the Fringe festival in 1999. I enjoyed the festival so much that I decided to stay in Edinburgh for the next 18 months! The festival is a brilliant part of Edinburgh lifestyle.
Last year was my first visit to the Fringe - and whilst there where some turkeys there were plenty of outstanding shows - Age of Consent, Falsettoland, Hedwig - to convince me to make an annual pilgrimage. This year I'm looking forward to catching some comedy acts - Jason Byrne, Tina C - and also a couple of plays that have caught my attention - Laramie Project, You Couldn't Make It Up. I've bought tickets for 20 shows in four days... Will I survive?
On the other hand if you take some risks with newcomers you can see some real gems. And the atmosphere in the city is great.
Last year I saw Alan Davies. The tickets were priced fairly high but he was only on for an hour, he repeated more than half of the jokes he had done the last time he was at the festival in 1998, and was grumpy.
He said he hadn't really wanted to come but someone had asked him because it was a comedy anniversary.
One good tip for seeing the Fringe cheaply: go during the first week and hang out at the larger venues. The comedy promoters give away loads of free tickets, no doubt to bulk up the audience (who enjoys playing to an empty house?) as well as to prompt word-of-mouth recommendations. I saw five shows this way. Not all were brilliant, but one (Andrew Clover's Birthday Party) was so good I went back for a second helping!
Last year I only had one day in Edinburgh. I spent £12 to see a big name TV star and the show was rubbish. I would have been gutted had I not already been to a free comedy show at lunchtime and spent the afternoon in stitches. Absolutely hilarious! I guess the lesson is you can't go by name or price but try selecting shows by recommendation. Listen to what other people say is good. And don't be put off the fringe by the odd poor show.
I've never been, but I do have the impression that this festival tends to be aimed at white middle class Radio4 Loose Ends listeners and junior Ned Sherrins, all hoping to be impressarios for all those tedious student junior Stephen Frys of the future.
I'm willing to accept my view is jaundiced so how about some wider coverage of the event (more on terrestrial TV, for example) and I suspect many others with a similar view, and from disparate backgrounds, may be attracted - not least as potential new performers.
There are some great small shows knocking around - they don't all have to shock or be from stand-ups waiting to be discovered. I saw the one man show "The Measure of a Milkman" yesterday in the afternoon - it was really good. My point is that there's more interesting stuff out there if you look beyond the big names.
I visited the Fringe for the first time last year and saw six shows in a weekend - five of which were great. I won't forget Polly the Trolley Dolly in a hurry, and the topical sketch and song show, The Treason Show was the highlight of my weekend.
It rained non-stop and the price of accomodation was ludicrous, but the atmosphere in the city made it all worthwhile.
I have been to the festival for three years in a row. I find the atmosphere amazing and look forward to it every year.
Dave Smith, UK
The Fringe is such an extraordinary phenomenon that, although seeing highlights and reviews on the telly is interesting, you really have to go there to have any idea of what it's like. The high's are just breathtaking, and the low's will give you something to talk about for years. May I recommend Jerry Springer - the Opera to anyone who's not easily offended. Hilarious but filthy.
The Marx brothers were a class act, I was laughing into tomorrow. Some other great performances even from street entertainer The Mighty Gareth who was as much comedian as act with his chainsaw juggling finale. Who needs to pay?
Six Women with Brain Death was fantastic. Both funny and thought-provoking, really worthwhile.
Messiaen's Visions de L'Amen performed in a late night concert at the Usher Hall by Peter Donohoe and Martin Roscoe was a sensation - this was music-making at its finest, with musicians and audience alike under the spell of a piece which, as Messaien surely hoped, transcends mere earthly matters.
Just returned from a weekend. Many great shows, some less good. Worst was Trev and Simon - best joke was when my brother left to "cough his guts up" and Simon thought that he was going for "coffee and some soup"!
It's about time they created a separate Comedy Festival. That way the fringe can return to being a showcase for new, cutting edge acts. The big promoters have ruined the whole thing. They charge big money for shows, and take over the bigger venues. Yet the standard isn't that great. I've just seen eight excellent shows at small venues. For some, I WAS the audience! GIVE US BACK OUR TRUE FRINGE... and stop the big boys cashing in.
The Cat Must Die at the caves was well worth the trek to the venue, (through dark, dank tunnels.) Despite limited amenities it was carried off with great aplomb. Overall the festival seems somewhat overmanaged this year, detracting from the spontenaity.
Six Women with Brain Death was fantastic. Both funny and thought-provoking, really worthwhile.
As a first time festivel-goer, I was a little overwhelmed and uncertain. I also found it difficult to see what I wanted....but I found a couple of great festival shows including the sublime and hilarious "NiceMum" double act and also the excellent "Sonic Waffle". Excellent stuff and I would recommend it to all!!!
Third year running and it keeps getting BIGGER and better yet very pleasurable - the banter at the late night and early shows...brilliant craic. The show Nicemum brought comedy to a new level with a duo - a suplime double act. Cracking stuff... more please!!!!!!
Just came back from an excellent weekend at the Fringe, managing to take in four shows in two days. The best of those four was Closer than Ever, a sophisticated and moving collection of songs, performed by amazingly talented young performers. The four singers completely captivated me, with a beautiful duet by the two girls standing out above all else. This musical has to be seen.
I was a first time fringer last night and it was ab fab, the Royal Mile was lined with quality cool acts, the best a drummer with small beer kegs, and big plastic dustbins...genius... and the comedy in the underbelly is very funny....go and have a ball.
It's fantastic!!! Third year running and it keeps getting BIGGER & better but yet very pleasurable - the banter, the late night and early shows...brilliant craic. The show Nicemum brought comedy to a new level with a duo - a sublime double act. Cracking stuff... more please!!!!!!
I've just returned from my first Edinburgh experience, and it was well worth the twelve-hour coach journey, both for the shows and the vibrant atmosphere. I saw two excellent productions at the Gilded Balloon: The Cat Must Die, which was energetically performed by a very talented cast and tremendous fun, and Watch Yourself There Now, which was a hilarious and slick satirical affair, even if it did owe more than a little of its brilliance to Chris Morris et al. I am now expecting great things from both casts!
I 'tumbled on the Fringe the first time I was in Edinburgh five years ago, and only got to see two things.
This year I went with the intention of taking in everything I could... but it was pretty expensive, so I only got to see about five or six things in the three days I was there.
Still, special mention to Gyles Brandreth in Zipp!! (100 musicals in 90 minutes), and the free taping of Just a Minute for which we stood in the returns line for two hours! Totally worth it!
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