It’s not all about plush theatres and pub basements – for some Fringe shows the venue is as important as the performance itself.
Lindsey Johnstone runs through 10 weird and wonderful Fringe venues in this year’s programme.
Holyrood park by night
Jaded by the earthly tameness of the parties on offer in conventional venues? How about a moonlit bacchanal in the shadow of Arthur’s Seat? Head to Holyrood Park at sundown and experience The Bacchae; a new take by The New Euripides Group on the classic Greek tale of rituals of Dionysian excess. With innovative use of music and dance, the tale of Dionysus and his revenge on the city of Thebes, aided by his unruly worshipers the Bacchantes, unfolds as the audience are lured deeper into the wild.
Join 14 other passengers for an epic journey in a minibus, albeit it one that doesn’t actually go anywhere. Cape Wrath, presented by Third Angel, is the story of two men’s journeys, 20 years apart, from the Midlands to the most north-westerly point of Scotland – a tale of family, travels, whisky and chocolate.
MORE INFO: Cape Wrath at Northern Stage at St Stephen’s
A pub crawl
The Crawl, by blotTHEATRE, would be a great excuse to get the drinks in – if the Fringe needed any more such expedients. Show-goers meet at Frankenstein’s on George IV Bridge for a pub crawl and are guaranteed to know each other a whole lot better by the end of the evening, with a night of drinks (although you’ll have to buy your own, and there’s no obligation for them to be alcoholic), games and the ensuing good times promised.
MORE INFO: The Crawl at Frankenstein Pub
A shipping container
Got a spare 15 minutes and looking for a shipping container to sit in? Good thing you’re at the Fringe, where Inne Goris and Dominique Pauwels have turned a 40ft container into an oasis of calm to create Crying Out Loud presents Daydream – a show that’s all about sitting down, closing your eyes, firing up your imagination and coming up with your own interpretations of what you hear, with the world outside reduced to a distant hum.
A mystery location…
Dance Pad Flash Mob aim to fulfil all your dreams of an unexpected venue, by not telling you what it is quite yet, although you can wager it’ll be somewhere highly public. Sign up online, learn the dance moves (all promised to be beginner-friendly) in the comfort of your own home from the provided link to the choreography, attend the rehearsal, and all will be revealed – to both the participants and the unsuspecting general public.
MORE INFO: Dance Pad Flash Mob
Basil, Sybil and Manuel are back for their sixth Fringe, with Faulty Towers The Dining Experience at B’est Restaurant on Drummond Street. The show is only part-scripted, meaning anything can happen, but whatever does happen you’re guaranteed a hot meal at the very least, although the service may leave a little to be desired. A sell-out since 2008, the diners make up the audience, with a fresh helping of comic ineptitude served up alongside a three course meal.
A 1960s Routemaster bus
The charmingly-named Necrobus is an original 1960s Routemaster, and the setting for Fringe comedy show Funeral Replacement Service – the story of the death of Roger Cocksweets, who expired while driving the bus now being used for his funeral (as stipulated in his will), in which the audience are the passengers, being driven around the city.
MORE INFO: Funeral Replacement Service at Necrobus
A garden shed
Owain’s garden shed is the scene for Gardening: For the Unfulfilled and Alienated, a bittersweet show with some big themes – death, violence, obsession, self-help books and, of course, gardening – squeezed into a very small space. Step inside the shed (but don’t bring a big group, as the audience is restricted to two at a time) to discover the extraordinary lengths one man will go to in his pursuit of horticultural perfection.
A residential house
Our Glass House is a site-specific performance examining domestic abuse, in the setting of a (disused) family home, transformed by artists into a little world for the audience to explore for themselves. Based on interviews with men and women who have experienced domestic abuse, the show asks why they stay and how they leave, and encompasses fantasy, choreography and song.
MORE INFO: Our Glass House at Summerhall
A marathon run on the Royal Mile
Quite possibly the only show at which those running shoes so beloved of American tourists might be a sartorial advantage, Twenty-Six Marathons in Twenty-Six Days is the spectacle of performance artist Vicki Weitz running 26 miles up and down the Royal Mile, every day for 26 days, starting at 7am every morning outside Holyrood Palace. Cheer her on, hand her sweets/towels/bottles of Lucozade or just watch passively as she raises questions about how our internal worlds affect our external performance, how we motivate ourselves, and how the quotidian is transformed into the extraordinary by virtue of repetition and magnification.
Have you spotted any other weird and wonderful venues in the Fringe programme? Share them below…
Main image: Faulty Towers The Dining Experience at B’est Restaurant