As the Edinburgh Fringe Festival rolls to a close, with performers nearing their final night, time is tight for how many of these performers one can see. With nearly 4000 shows to choose from in four days the task of choosing where to spend your precious hours is pretty monumental. So, whether you are nearing the end of your own performance up at the Fringe and want to squeeze a few more shows in between flyer-ing, or whether you have decided to come up for the final days to catch the farewell fireworks, here are a few suggestions to help you figure out what’s worth watching.
Paul Currie: ‘Ffffffmilk’ at the Hives. Every day at 19:40
The Fringe Festival is renowned for its concentration of comedic acts, where the up-and-coming rub shoulders with household names. I have no doubt that Currie is on his way from the former to the latter. Daringly original amongst a sea of stand-up, Currie’s humour is simultaneously universal whilst maintaining deep idiosyncrasies. One of the only comedians I’ve seen to never falter and fall into the easy, offensive and self-deprecating gags for laughs. He’ll make you laugh like a kid again. Truly worth a watch (and part of the pay-what-you-want festival).
Yokai: at Underbelly Cowgate. Every day at 13.30
This continental show harks back to the charming simplicity of mime and puppetry. Despite being a performance with no dialogue, the performers never fail to provoke and emotional response from the audience using a more imaginative and intimate form of communication in their performance. Not only is the execution of this piece inventive, it’s content is pertinent and thought-provoking. Exploring the presentation of tragedy, Yokai reminds us how tragedy involves real individuals and real emotions in a context where we easily forget. Constantly bombarded with international tragedies in the news, it goes unnoticed how our emotional engagement with them wanes, and the people they involve simply become puppets part of a greater plastic story. Yokai, combining puppetry with performance goes some small way towards breaking down this world view.
XX: Paradise in the Vault. Every day at 18.55
A piece of theatre that Oxford thespians should be proud of to call a product of their university. Jack Bradfield’s writing is compelling, authentic and unbelievably clever. The performers’ presentation of it does not fail to do the writing justice as the individual performances and group dynamics work flawlessly to the overall affect of the play. With its unusual premise exploring the genre of romance and love, XX ran a high risk of falling into the unfortunate combination of pretentious and boring. Yet, the company utterly escaped this pitfall, with honest material and genuinely talented actors they create an un-missable experience of a show. My favourite at the Fringe.
Pussyfooting: Paradise in the Vault. Every day at 20:10.
Another Oxford production worth seeing. Half a play, half a sleepover you’ve been invited to, Pussyfooting presents the topic of what it means to be female. A topic we can, unfortunately, so easily tune out of. I commend it for being ground-breakingly original: five girls take to the stage in such an innovative and fresh way that they successfully open up the debate whilst simultaneously making you feel like you are making new friends.
Shit-faced Shakespeare. Measure for Measure: Underbelly, George Square. Every day at 22:15
A Fringe classic but one that doesn’t lose its raucousness. Performing the Bard’s Measure for Measure, his problem play, is a particularly side-splitting choice as one cast member a night has the problem of working out what in the world their next line is on a bottle of Prosecco or two. Giving you the pleasure to watch someone make a fool of themselves at 22:15 when you yourself are, probably, shit-faced is a recommendable way to end any day at the Fringe.