• Edinburgh Festival Fringe

    Les Argonautes, Pas Perdus | Photo: A. Chaudron

    More likely to yield theatre experiences in the bad to traumatic range than fine and heartening ones, every year the Edinburgh Festival Fringe has the largest and most irregular collection of work of any performing arts event in the world. There are many, many shows of disastrous conception and worse execution disguised by the brochure/directory's strict copy limitations (you have less than a hundred words to go on), and certainly in the first week you're more or less just spinning the wheel to see what comes up. But this is exactly the situation that has endeared the festival to its regular attendees, and it's generally held to be true that until you've been one of an audience of two in a show comprising 60 minutes of heavy audience participation you haven't, haven't really, experienced the Fringe.

    For those who stay the month there's a cosseting sense of disconnection – the outside world can't be dealt with in the twenty-minute interstitial slivers that divide each day's itinerary of seven or eight shows. Running between venues you cross crowded walks, climb the dark streets lined close with high, stone buildings – it's a scenic city, but you don't have the time.

    The Fringe isn't a friend of circus – probably it isn't a friend of anyone, though it's a good place if your interest is to catch devised theatre, solo shows, student drama, physical theatre. Most years there'll be a tented circus (NoFit State and Foostbarn recently pitched) and there's always a spread of burlesque/cabaret that goes from low trash up to the higher Spiegeltent fare – but it's also worth keeping an eye on the outlying venues (in recent years the Zoo and Zoo Southside have distinguished themselves) to see if any overseas companies materialise with a true circus-theatre piece. It's not Edinburgh's speciality, but it's a big enough festival; anything can happen.

  • Events Archive

    3 is a Crowd, Fright or Flight
    20/08/2013 to 26/08/2013
    Assembly Roxy
    Ramesh Meyyappan: Snails and Ketchup | Photo: Mike Wight
    17/08/2011 to 22/08/2011
    New Town Theatre
    Circa, Wunderkammer | Photo: Justin Nicolas
    08/08/2013 to 12/08/2013
    Underbelly, Bristo Square
    Gravity & Other Myths, A Simple Space
    12/08/2014 to 17/08/2014
    Underbelly Bristo Square
    Compagnie Non Nova, L'Apres-midi d'un Foehn | Photo: Jean-Luc Beaujault
    13/08/2013 to 16/08/2013
    Gravity and Other Myths, A Simple Space
    23/08/2013 to 26/08/2013
    Gilded Balloon Teviot
    Barely Methodical Troupe, Bromance | Photo: Matilda Temperley
    12/08/2014 to 17/08/2014
    Underbelly Bristo Square
    Circolombia, Urban
    16/08/2011 to 29/08/2011
    Assembly Hall
    Pirates of the Carabina, Flown
    14/08/2013 to 19/08/2013
    Underbelly, Bristo Square
    NoFit State Circus, Bianco
    19/08/2014 to 25/08/2014
    NoFit State Big Top


  • Magazine

    By John Ellingsworth on 8 August 2011 in Interviews

    'Many times we were exploring the technique and training the technical elements at the same time as we were drawing a dramaturgical line – which for this show has evolved around our La Putyka, around barmen and the destinies of people who can meet each other at a pub. We draw from much authentic experience and many adventures. For example the closing song was written by my father when he was receiving treatment for alcoholism in rehab. In Bohemia the song has its own magic, an unworldly quality, but also a great depth, describing what else, apart from cheer, alcohol and its demons can bring to a human being. I wonder how it's going to work in English...'

    Director Rostislav Novak on the work of the Czech company Cirk La Putyka.

    By Dorothy Max Prior on 9 October 2010 in Reviews

    Les Argonautes are, in essence, a troupe of musical clowns, ‘making circus, where movement is king and speech sleeps’ as they charmingly put it.

    By Dorothy Max Prior on 23 August 2009 in Reviews

    There’s a rather untypical theatre audience waiting to go into the Out of the Blue Drill Hall, a venue that’s a fair way out of Edinburgh’s centre—a long line of chattering twenty-somethings who look like they are up for a night of clubbing rather than a Fringe show.

    By Dorothy Max Prior on 22 August 2009 in Reviews

    Controlled Falling Project invites us to ‘enter a laboratory of acrobatic impossibilities, where old science meets new circus in a heart-stopping, high-energy creative experiment’ – and, for once, what we get is pretty much what it says on the can….

    By John Ellingsworth on 8 August 2009 in Reviews

    If you want (or have) to experience it as such, the Edinburgh Fringe can be the world’s densest theatrical market: it’s possible to see eight shows a day for three weeks, and what you remember is usually the extremes—the shows that are either great and life-changing or harrowingly awful.

    By John Ellingsworth on 7 August 2009 in Reviews

    A double review of two Airealism shows at the Gilded Balloon: one an apocalyptic cabaret, the other a combination of aerial performance and noir mystery.

    By John Ellingsworth on 6 August 2009 in Reviews

    Smitten by an armless, legless doll our hero Hans is drawn on a quest when she mysteriously disappears—a quest that in best traditions sees Hans encountering a string of bizarre characters and reliving such critical turning points in his life as the sudden death of his pet sheep (‘Roy! [sob, sob] Royyyy!’).

    By John Ellingsworth on 5 August 2009 in Reviews

    A lot of the time when circus is used as a metaphor in plays, it’s not—not really—a metaphor. It’s more just a backdrop and a texture: of mystery, timelessness, menace.

    By John Ellingsworth on 30 June 2009 in Features

    Working counter to the forces of Fringe entropy, Sideshow will be in-depth previewing a couple of circus and circus-inclusive Edinburgh shows over the coming weeks. First up is Bristol-based dance-multimedia-theatre collective Precarious, who are premiering anomie this year at Zoo Southside. It tells the story of six characters living together in an apartment block, oblivious to each other but with lives intertwined—and uses aerial work to loft its characters above the urban scene and move its choreography into 3D space.