Kaitlin Dryburgh- 2nd August 2023
Annndddd we’re off. So begins the 2023 Fringe festival in Edinburgh. Artists of all varieties, comedians and visitors from all over the globe descend on Edinburgh city to take advantage of the world-renowned festival. We in Scotland get to experience gold standard comedy, have the privilege of experiencing performing groups that deliver ground-breaking material, not only that Scotland can take pride in hosting a festival that is a rite of passage for the comedy circuit. Yet on the flip side artists and tourists alike will experience extortionate prices, unavailable accommodation, slow moving traffic and areas absolutely bombarded with marketing it might make you a little queasy. There’s no denying that the Fringe festival may have changed over the years and with it so did Edinburgh city, perhaps not for the better in some respects. It may have become apparent in recent years that the festival has stopped championing the artist and in some areas profit became king.
Alas, the show must go on and as the arts battle it out with capitalism we can only hope that fairer pricing and support is available for those artist who are just starting out and are only pulling in a small crowd.
However, looking on the bright side there is a plethora of amazing artists from Scotland coming to the Fringe this year. A range of community theatre groups, individual artists and comedians who are well deserving of your support and time. These are but a handful of the amazing artists you should be buying a ticket to.
Tinderbox Orchestra- Music
The Hearld said of their 2022 show that it encompassed rave culture meeting last night at the Proms. I think that paints a picture of what Tinderbox can bring. Founded in 2010 as an alternative to the usual Youth Orchestra, this organisation works with a huge range of young artists from all over Scotland. Their productions range from local arts productions to shows for the international stage. This year Tinderbox will bring together a miss-match of artists from rappers to woodwind, to create a mesmerising show and sound all from up-and-coming artists of Scotland. If you’ve ever thought Hamilton the musical isn’t dramatic enough musically, this is the show for you.
Performing Thurs-Saturday the first three weeks in August.
If you fancy listening to a taster of their music, give this a listen https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G4GLhXhxCTg
Concerned Others- Performing Arts
It is common knowledge that Scotland is struggling with a drug death epidemic, one of the highest in Europe. The visual show ‘Concerned Others’ tells the stories and perspectives from those who often remain unheard among the political humdrum of this critical issue. Tortoise in a Nutshell who bring the Concerned Others to the Fringe this year use an immersive tabletop performance that utilises shoebox installations, projections, turntables and 32mm figures to tell their stories. Perhaps an unorthodox approach, but this show is sure to be impactful in a very clever way. Performed by a visual theatre charity based in the Newhaven area of Edinburgh the group composed of local artists will help to a shine a light on the desperate situation Scotland is in.
Performances Tues- Sun 2nd– 27th August
Robin Grainger- Comedian
Robin who originates from the small Aberdeenshire town Portsoy made headlines last year when he only sold one ticket to his first Fringe show. Upon realising there was only one audience member he did what more than a few wouldn’t have done, decided to still do the gig. He had a great time, all things considered. As luck would have it that audience member spoke to legendary Scottish comedian Kate Copstick after the show and the story began to quickly spread. His 2022 show sold out and he had media requests from all corners of the globe. However it wasn’t a fluke as his show got fantastic reviews, after a few more people watched it. Following on from that Robin has gone on to support several comedians on tour, such as Kevin Bridges and has done shows all over Europe. This year his show “An Audient with Robin Granger” is lined up to be just as good, if not better.
Performances- Through-out August
No Love Songs- Performing Arts
Part of the Made in Scotland Showcase, No Love Songs is music brought to life by the Dundee Rep Theatre. The performance looks to follow the real-life experiences of a couple who have to grapple with post-partum depression, becoming new parents and the funny and challenging situations their new life throws in their direction. Scottish singer and songwriter Kyle Falconer sees his latest critically acclaimed album come-to life via theatre. Although covering serious topics, there will be moments to laugh and smile as well.
Performances- Daily 3rd– 27th August
World Press Photo Exhibition
Although not a ‘local’ exhibition as such, this will be the only time the exhibition comes to the UK, so definitely not to be missed. Located in the Scottish Parliament, this is the 66th year the exhibition has been displaying the very best photojournalism and documentary photography from all over the globe. An extremely poignant and important display that showcases why we need to protect journalism and understand the important role it plays in telling our stories and holding those in power to account. The judges had to review over 60,000 photos to find the very best which will be showcased all over the world.
Free to view 5th-26th August
Kathleen Hughes- Comedian
Part of the Scottish Comedy Festival Kathleen is back with her feminist inspired work in progress show ‘One of the Girls’. Last year she was one of ten who made it to the ‘So you Think you’re Funny’ finals, out of a total of 450 comedians who originally entered. She’s earmarked to be one of Scotland’s comedians to watch as her dry and witty humour makes light of the trickier topics she covers in her set.
Performances daily 4th-18th August
Scotland’s Pick of the Fringe- Comedy
Sometimes when you don’t know exactly what you want to see or would prefer to get a taster of a few acts then shows like this can be excellent. Hosted by Billy Kirkwood (reviewed as one of the funniest comics at the festival), this show is in its 11th year at the Fringe and it’s ever-changing line-up is sure to deliver one of the most hilarious hours in your day. Shows like this are always an easy way to sample a few acts and they rarely disappoint. If there’s an act who really got your funny bone then you know who to go and book tickets for next.
Performances daily 4th-27th August