For the first part of August I went to Edinburgh with a friend to review a series of shows at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, for a student-run publication called 'EdFringe Review'. We stayed in a flat with ten other reviewers from various universities including Durham, St Andrews, City and Bristol – all of whom we’d only met on the zoom training call. Luckily, they quickly proved to be the best flat we could’ve asked for.
Over the course of ten days I watched at least two shows a day, including a family-created historical romance in the nineteenth-century highlands, a slick bank robbery drama riffing on corporate finance, a musical based on Deliveroo, and a one-man show from the perspective of a medieval statue impersonator. The Fringe has always offered a huge spectrum of entertainment, ranging from the good to the ugly, but this last show was definitely my favourite: exploring the darker side of small village politics surrounding age gaps in adolescent relationships, it was the highlight of my time there.
It was certainly a challenge working to such a tight deadline (reviews had to be up by 10.00am the next morning), but I loved the opportunity to work on a new form of writing, and to combine critical skills with the love of theatre I’d cultivated across my degree. Especially after lockdown, it was a privilege to see theatre, music and dance making such a determined comeback.
Alongside watching the shows, my friend and I also set out to explore the food scene in Edinburgh, challenging ourselves to go the whole time without using a chain. While this proved to be difficult (Edinburgh’s coffee shop policy is surprisingly anti-laptop), we found some great places to eat on a budget, with our favourites being Mosque Kitchen – which offered two curries, rice and naan for £6 – Nile Valley cafe, and Erbil, both of which gave change from a tenner per head.
Overall I had an amazing time, and loved the chance to see so many memorable, thought-provoking, and downright odd performances. I can’t wait to go back.
Undergraduate student, English