The Edinburgh Fringe Hangover

Leaving Edinburgh Fringe is like suffering from a massive hangover. You’ll try and piece it together, ask yourself why you went, and promise yourself never again.

Edinburgh Fringe is the calendar event of the year for the Arts. Despite the phenomenal cost attached to the yearly Fringe, Arts enthusiast and hopefuls flock in their thousands.

This year the show spaces have noted record sales, although this is in comparison to last year, when the Olympics dragged everyone into London to see the largest theatrical spectacle ever hosted in the UK, with Danny Boyle’s opening, and there they stayed to watch some athletes perform too.

In reality being at the Fringe doesn’t mean you’ll be spotted. Equally going to the Fringe as a spectator doesn’t mean you’ll see anything good.

Some of the desperate hoards of flyer-runners who lure you into bad show, may very well feel ashamed of themselves. All they care about is bums-on-seats and with shows not reaching anywhere near capacity, it’s not surprising. So you could spend an hour just being shouted at by a venting comedian who is truly pissed of at the Fringe and all its inhabitants. Or feel like you’re watching a drowning puppy as someone’s last breath of enthusiasm is choked out in front of you. It’s all part of the Fringe fun.

Even if you see do see lots of good performances; “brilliant”; “outstanding”; “the Arts at its best”; you still feel like cattle, being herded from one show to another. Lyn Gardener makes a point of this when she asks how many shows are too many? Which can be found here:

The venues themselves are so swollen with performances that you also have the incessant interruption of noise pollution from the neighbouring acts. You can have cackling audiences’ laughter puncture the death scene of a tragic play, or some grim rock music herald the start of a comedy.

So why do we bother to go? It’s undoubtedly a great atmosphere and the buzz of the Fringe is unbeatable. It’s a melting pot of ideas and styles and the noise given yearly to the Fringe makes it irresistible. Plus it’s not all about the events and tranquil Edinburgh is never so much fun and the bars are never so enlivened with people from all over the world. The Fringe is less like the Marmite-complex and more like Christmas: it’s expensive, a whole load of hassle, sometimes you’ll have to grin and bear it, but it’s worth it (most years).


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