Top 5 themes of the 2014 Fringe
breaking bad

Every year, certain running themes emerge in the gargantuan tome that is the Fringe programme. A vast majority of shows take on topical subjects to discuss, or more likely, poke fun at. Here are five of the themes that will play a big part in the festival this year…

breaking bad
[Walt and Jesse live on in several Breaking Bad inspired Fringe shows]

1. Scottish Independence

The most obvious one by far. With the days drawing closer to September 18, everyone seems to be jumping on the bandwagon and having their say on whether Scotland should or shouldn’t be independent. One show to watch out for is Aye Right? How No?: The Comedy Countdown to the Referendum with Vladimir McTavish & Keir McAllister which sees guests such as Fred MacAuley and Des Clarke argue ‘Scotland’s Big Question.’ For those seeking a more straight-edged debate, Is Scottish Independence Bad For Your Health? includes university guest speakers and academic analysis of the outcome of our vote.

• How Fringe shows are tackling the Scottish independence debate

2. World War I

It won’t have escaped your notice that this year marks the 100th anniversary of the First World War, and it is no surprise that this is a massive theme throughout the festival. Small War by Valentjin Dhaenens is just one show playing at the Traverse Theatre that tells the story through the words of those who were there. For those who are strong willed and can handle vivid accounts, Forgotten Voices at the Pleasance Courtyard recounts stories of the battle and its aftermath.

• How FRONT and The War dramatise conflict in very different ways

3. Social Media

We live in a fast paced society that is rapidly moving online. From Twitter to Pinterest, Facebook to Instagram, there is no escaping that social media is now an everyday feature of our lives. Just two shows incorporating this theme are Error 404 which looks at “bloggers, vloggers, trolls and attention-seekers” and All Made Up: This Time It’s Social which was constructed from Facebook feeds and hashtags.

4. Feminism

Hardly new to the festival, but this year the Fringe is playing host to shows inspired by all things feminist, from the Suffragette Movement to radical opinion pieces. Shows include Sister which is being shown as Summerhall and is part of the Made in Scotland Showcase, and Feminism for Chaps which takes a satirical look at what it means to be a feminist and how men with these beliefs can change the world.

5. TV Shows

Good news for those mourning the end of the season four of Game of Thrones. While it may not be quite the same as watching your favourite characters manipulate one another over claims to the Iron Throne, the Fringe does feature a few acts who have taken George RR Martin’s blood-soaked series as inspiration, including  Winter is Coming, a musical comedy set across Westeros. Another hit series that has been given the ‘Fringe treatment’ is Breaking Bad, in the form of Christian O’Connell: Breaking Dad or One Man Breaking Bad, amongst others.

• George RR Martin and the power behind Game of Thrones

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