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Murray Edwards College
University of Cambridge

Anna Rainbird-Chill: Reviewing the Edinburgh Fringe

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    01 Dec
    The photo shows the Royal Mile in Edinburgh, with tall stone buildings lining the street. Some people are handing out flyers for performances. Two shops on the street are called 'Olde Edinburgh' and 'Taste of Scotland'.

    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.

    Anna Rainbird-Chill
    Undergraduate student, English