A first class weekend at the end of the Edinburgh Festival with the family.
3o years ago a group of comedians and their technical crew headed to the Edinburgh Fringe seeking fame and fortune through the medium of a sketch comedy show. We were called Comedy Factory and with the encouragement of a glowing review from Geoff Barker (“I hated it”) ringing in our ears we bedded in to our digs and prepared for our opening night at venue 33: The Pleasance.
The rest, as they say is history: writ small on page 37 of the 1994 Fringe programme: Waiting for the Ugly Bus. Heard of it? Hmm!
Fast forward 30 years and I am back in Edinburgh for the Fringe. I’m not performing. 3/4 of the family are up to support eldest daughter… actually that is a lie: we are up to get as much fun out of the last weekend of the Fringe whilst Number 1 daughter works front of house at… you guessed it: Pleasnce Venue 33.
I am back in the Pleasance Courtyard soaking up the atmosphere, following hints and tips from everyone that walks by and squeezing in a lot of shows.
It’s still brilliant but there are a lot of interesting diferences which are really important to the visitor.
So here are a few bits of information and tips.
- Don’t book LNER 1st class for the food! Free it maybe, first class it definitely aint!
2 Do book first class for the extra room and the staff’s desperate attempts to get rid of all the left over booze in the hour and a half between Newcastle upon Tyne and Edinburgh.
3 Ever since The McEwans factory closed, the smell of Edinburgh has changed. I miss it: others might not.
4 I know it is all on line and it is not exactly green, but the train journey is still a great time to browse the Fringe Diary
5 It is all on line: THAT IS WIERD. Venues Box Office is on line, Fringe Box Office is online. What does that mean. ONE TOP TIP is that as people turn up with a less than full quota, you start to see tickets become available. Those lads and lasses on the queue who have been literally herding people for a month are well worth befriending to stand a great chance of squeezing in at the last moment.
6 There seems to be more queues
7 There are DEFINITELY more bars.
8 Actors and producers are still as desperate for you to see their show and just as grateful afterwards. They really are sweeties.
9. Prices are OK. For me, a show that I know nothing about and only lasts for 50 minutes needs to be cheap enough to leave you enough money to afford a show that you know is going to be good so that you can quickly forget the show you have just seen. There are also Twofers and pay-as-much-as-you-like performances, so you are able to take risks. Out of 11 shows in two days we only saw one duffer. I think we were quite lucky in that, and if you think we spent £200 each, we would barely have been able to see three shows in London, so I’ll take them odds.
10. There are a lot of hills in Edinburgh and if you don’t plan well, you could find yourself doing a lot of miles between venues but I have still never got out of a taxi and thought “gosh that was worth it”. Edinburgh is a GREAT place to walk around, but it is a capital city with capital city problems. I would suggest getting the last cab home unless you are lucky enough to have a city centre hotel!