• 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

    NoFit State Circus, Noodles | Photo: Farrows Creative
    14/08/2013 to 19/08/2013
    New Town Theatre
    Thomas Monckton / Circo Aereo, The Pianist | Photo: Heli Sorjonen
    02/08/2014 to 10/08/2014
    Assembly Roxy
    All Or Nothing / Strange Bird Zirkus, Spokes
    05/08/2011 to 07/08/2011
    Dance Base - National Centre for Dance
    Compagnie Bal, La Poème
    20/08/2013 to 22/08/2013
    Circa, Beyond | Photo: Benjamin Knapton
    21/08/2014 to 25/08/2014
    Underbelly Bristo Square
    Casus, Knee Deep
    14/08/2012 to 19/08/2012
    Assembly George Square
    Gandini Juggling, Smashed
    14/08/2013 to 26/08/2013
    Assembly Hall
    Cirk La Putyka, La Putyka | Photo: Martin Faltus
    11/08/2011 to 13/08/2011
    Zoo Southside
    Théâtre d'un jour, L'Enfant Qui...
    15/08/2014 to 17/08/2014
    Institut français d'Ecosse
    Compagnie Bal, La Poème
    07/08/2013 to 10/08/2013