Fantastic Free Fringe Fun

What a fantastic city Edinburgh is. Such beautiful buildings in the centre, that the castle looks positively boring. It’s very compact and yet has lots of spaces for performers. Last week it also had lots of performers for the spaces. The weather was pleasantly warm, the streets packed, the atmosphere was full of intrigue and laughter and the businesses were coining it in. With over 400 venues to choose from and thousands of people it all seemed to run like clockwork. For some people organising the fringe festival must be their entire years work all rolled into one mammoth task. It could be that way for some of the performers too! The leaflet printers must make a fortune as there must be more flyers handed out than there are possible people to take them so most end up in the bin. To be quite frank some of the acts need to be there too but even the bad ones keep on trying and we all need to persevere to succeed.

Two of the best acts I saw were Tim Vine’s Joke-amotive, an incredibly funny show from start to finish, my jaws were aching with laughter at the simplest and most stupid of gags but delivered with such clever slick precision that it looked easy, I’m sure it was anything but. How refreshing to hear a whole performance without a swear word, a truly wonderful hour of family entertainment suitable for anybody of any age completely inoffensive, marvellous. Imran Yusuf wasn’t really in the best venue but his performance was extremely entertaining whilst also being though provoking. Perhaps a little close to the knuckle for youngsters but again a finely honed performance from a name I’m sure we’ll hear at lot more of in the future.

On the other hand there was an attempt by a group of five potentially good artists who had compiled 45 minutes of absolute trash which was so poor I completely refused to give anything. I felt embarrassed for them and couldn’t get out quick enough. Later I felt sorry that I hadn’t donated to show some encouragement as they had tried to entertain, but had just failed dismally. It’s not a crime to fail at least they tried. I might have been more generous if it hadn’t been portrayed as suitable for children because that’s something it certainly was not and I think humour in particular doesn’t need to be disgusting. Watching the audience was more entertaining than the show. The sheer bewilderment on the faces of the people who struggled to applaud was worth seeing; most were clapping because it meant they could finally leave without seeming rude. One chap asked the actors if they could explain their show and they had no response. Strange to see how people can put in all the effort without a clear goal and yet they worked together to the same end so at least one of them must have brought them into a team, written it, organised the act and venue, sorted the props, advertised it, etc.etc. I should have been more generous towards them but one thing the Free Fringe definitely isn’t, is free, so a late performance that flops is fighting against the odds to get money out of anyone.

It’s taught me now to be more giving to those who try but it’s also made me think that sometimes you have to know when to quit. They’ll probably make it big and then I’ll feel a complete chump when I have to eat my words.

Persevere to succeed…….be happy in whatever you do.

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