An idea formed in my mind some months ago: a sneaky return to the Edinburgh Fringe. Not an actual run, but a couple performances, a few guest spots, some visiting with friends and seeing a few shows I’d been keen to watch.

Well, it happened. A few days of delightful delights and enjoyable running to and fro.

Final tally

  • Three nights
  • Two performances of The Pitch
  • Three guest slots
  • Eleven shows watched
So they were a busy few days, but definitely worth it. I forgot how hilly Edinburgh was, and a few of the shows I wanted to see and did manage to see, were farther apart than I remembered. But art comes from struggle.

A couple highlights and observations

Walking up the Royal Mile on that first evening I was confronted by hundreds of flyerers, and I experienced some immediate sadness. I even tried to flyer some too, but my heart wasn’t really in it. As much as I put a brave face on it, flyering isn’t fun.

However, seeing all the university students in painted faces singing and doing avant-garde dance, I realized that actually, the flyering at Edinburgh is, for these people, the biggest learning experience of them all. How to approach (cold call) people, how to be concise and friendly and engaging, standing on your feet all day for little to no reward, and braving inclement weather without complaint: all things that will serve them well no matter what profession they enter.

I saw a couple of improv shows that I didn’t really enjoy as improv shows. However, they both had very strong ‘hooks’ (movies, and Downton Abbey). And the audiences loved them. A lot. It’s not that the improv was bad; it just wasn’t impressive nor strong. However, it didn’t really seem to matter; everyone else in those packed auditoriums had a riotous time. Commercially they were very successful, and the performers seemed to be having a blast too. So I’m the odd one out; time for me to do some thinking.

The Pitch is fully sustainable as a full-length 45 minute format. Each show was very different, one slightly silly supernatural love story with lots of audience involvement, the other a dark psychodrama. Both satisfying with complete stories. But the second one was kinda sad (as sad movies tend to be). And while that’s all well and good, I intend to bring more funny to the next performance of The Pitch, which will probably be in September or October.

Edinburgh Fringe is more and more nuts each year. I alternately hated it, loved it, was overwhelmed by it, and when I left, I was sad to go. We’ll see what happens next year, but I’ve already got some ideas.