Catching the late train from the Cotswolds, I emerged from Edinburgh Waverley as the crowds were descending on the Royal Mile for the evening’s entertainment. This is my first trip to Edinburgh, indeed Scotland, and I could not have chosen a busier time. According to my well- informed cabbie the last weekend of the arts festival is the most hectic of the season, with 2 million people expected to attend events and the stream of heads oozing from every street, like a disturbed ants nest, was proof. Edinburgh has over 40,000 performances, 2,500 shows in 250 venues across the city, justifiably earning itself the ‘world’s largest arts festival’.
In true Edinburgh Fringe spirit, there was no settling in period and I walked straight out my cab to be smuggled into my first show by Alice, currently spending her every waking minute satisfying the needs of a menagerie of musical comedy acts performing at the Pleasance. Sheepishly, hanging out in the dressing room, I poorly attempted to blend into the wall as the stars, The Beta Males (@betamalescomedy) rocked out to the Avril Lavigne classic ‘Girlfriend’.
Superopolis, their show, is a manic hour which I think sums up the fringe marvellously, as Bristow Square becomes the epicentre of the performing arts world for one long month. Acts and support staff, alike, work and play hard; Jonny and Baptists, a comic musical duo (@jonny_baptists), had pulled seven gigs in as many hours. Their guitarist (who had hair like Legolas!) struggled to lift his pint and had taken to super gluing his finger tips to his thighs and ripping them clean off, in order to keep a layer of flesh on his vital digits – such is the dedication to the fringe.
Not having the discerning taste in comedy as my impeccable hostess, I was happy to let many a flyer pusher persuade me to attend their show as I trekked across the Scottish capital. By day I wandered with rest of fringe punters assaulted by flyers at every turn, by night I, imposter fringe veteran, joined the backstage. With the mere mention of ‘Alice’ and the brilliant tech status she deserves, I mingled with acts after gigs, getting inner gossip of Fringe. Wandering through Edinburgh back to bed lugging two guitar cases, only a few very short hours before dawn, there were still acts preparing to go on.