The Fringe has arrived! Let the mayhem, sleepless nights, drunken dawns, flyering spiels, too much pie and far too much face paint commence!
If you’re popping your EdFringe cherry this year, arriving in the Scottish capital can often be somewhat disorientating. With so much to do and see, it’s hard not to spontaneously combust in a shower of glitter and oooooh what’s that?! On the other hand, by the end of the month both your mental and physical well-being can start to show signs of wear and it’s not unusual to hear yourself uttering the words, “I want mum!” in an entirely non-ironic manner. And so, allow us Fringe-whores (don’t judge, you won’t be able to help coming back either) to give you a little easing in guide, shall we say? Though we can’t guarantee sell-out shows or promise that you’ll leave with quite as many marbles as you arrived with, we can hopefully make sure you do leave with all your limbs, internal organs and friendships intact.
Food is tricky. If you’re part of a large group, sharing just the one kitchen, this can be even trickier – take it from someone who’s shared with a company of twenty. If you are in this position you have to shop smart: instead of doing the month in one go, do a week or a few days at a time. It might seem a bit of a pain, but trying to keep groceries for even ten people who have shopped for a month is nigh on impossible.
Trips to Lidl aside, there are some fab places to grab a bite and bevvy in the ‘Burgh. Top of our hit list is Black Medicine on the corner of the Royal Mile and Nicholson Street. This Native American themed coffee shop does some of the best smoothies and milkshakes I’ve ever come across. Fantastic for a shot of vitamin C when you realise you’ve not seen an apple in weeks. Next is Kilimanjaro, further down Nicholson Street. This red fronted coffee has been voted one of the best around and does chocolate brownies that you wish your mama made. It’s also one of our favourite breakfast destinations. The city’s Baked Potato Shop is legendary and often has queues round the block so try to hit it off peak and ask for the haggis (obvs). Should you need somewhere with actual seats for when your family dip a toe in the festival waters, the lovely Maison Bleue on Victoria Street serves some fab French and Scottish fare. Plus, as the name suggests, it’s bright blue. Notable mentions: Piemaker and Chocolate Soup, for when the rainy summer gets you down.
You will never be short of places to drink in Edinburgh, but one of our faves is Brass Monkey who serve a fit cocktail at a decent price. It once had a four -poster in the back, but it has since been removed much to our chagrin. For serious party animals C Main, and their Urban Gardens, stays open until a glorious 5am.
Keeping healthy is paramount. I highly doubt that any of you fine people will be working with understudies this summer and speaking from my own experiences, you don’t want to find yourselves a (wo)man down. By all means let rip, but if you do find yourself coming down with something dose up on Lemsip and Berocca unless throwing up in a bucket every time you walk off stage is on your, ahem, Edinburgh bucket list. If someone becomes really very ill, then try to keep them separate, the last thing you need is the rest of the company following suit.
Finally, where possible, make time for other things and other people. When you’re performing, drinking, flyering and cohabiting with the same people for a month, it’s only normal to crave a change of scenery. On our one day off in the whole month a couple of years back, the entirety of Belt Up swiftly about-turned from the mile and spent a thoroughly entertaining two hours watching Inception. I’ve escaped the Fringe in a variety of ways: screeched like a teenager in the Edinburgh Dungeons, frittered away even more money in the Grassmarket, spent a peaceful hour in the Fruitmarket Gallery and lazed in Princes Street Gardens. For the sake of your sanity and friendships, find some alone time and personal space.
Most importantly: explore. There is so much that both the city and the festival have to offer. Don’t stick just to your favourites or your own venue’s bar (however outrageous the discount). Go out and meet new people, try something new, make friends. You never know who you might meet and if you’re stuck send us a tweet @RushTheatreCo and see where we’re at. And remember, for the love of theatre and the most beautiful of sunrises, to climb Arthur’s Seat!
Written by Chi-San Howard
Photo: Belt Up Theatre and friends about to climb Arthur’s Seat, Edinburgh Fringe 2010.