Laughter, tears and applause: Fringe highlights 2014

And that’s it, all over for another year… I am home, fed, watered and having slept for 12 hours: I’m definitely ready to be unbored again!

The Fringe festival flew by this year, and amidst the ‘I’ll just go for one drink’ nights out, the power-naps and the busy box office shifts, I managed to squeeze in exactly 50 shows! That’s right, 50! From stand up comedy on the top deck of a double decker bus, to a female accapella group agony aunt service, to an Australian musical in a Church hall, to a one man show based in a wheelie bin, I saw some incredible pieces of performance!

Although it’s incredibly difficult to narrow it down to one favourite, I’ve got it down to a top 5:

Lungs | Paines Plough:  No props, no set, no ensemble: just an incredible script, brought to life by two amazing performers. An honest, heartfelt and witty production which had the audience laughing and crying as one. My one standing ovation of the festival!

Tiger | Barrowland Ballet: A beautifully unconventional piece of dance and physical theatre which left my mouth in a Wow kinda shape. A magical production which was visually stunning with a huge dose of energy and talent!

Travesti | Unbound Theatre Company: Incredibly thought provoking and heartfelt verbatim theatre which knocked me sideways slightly: Female thoughts through male voices.  A very relevant, and brilliantly performed piece from Outbound Theatre Co.

Blind | Paper Birds: Something completely different but ultimately: amazing. Featuring beatboxing from the very talented Grace Savage in a fresh, creative and interesting take on finding your voice when the world keeps getting louder.

Bottleneck | High Tide Festival: A fantastic, fast paced yet emotive, one-man show which left me out of breath just watching. First class performance from James Cooney who is on the ball without as much as a blink out of place throughout.

As well as these, I had a fabulous time on the party bus with Jenny Collier in her hilarious, one hour stand up set (Diolch yn fawr!): definitely my favourite comedian of the Fringe! I also, loved the madness and the chaos of Lord of Strut for the second Fringe in a row and spending a fantastic lunchtime in the company of the Early Door‘s cast at the Jinglin’ Geordie. Fourth Monkey’s Treasure Island left me grinning and giggling away, as did Stuart Bowden’s performance in the beautifully bizarre Before Us Guttermouth was an incredible example of a one-man show and Feral was beautiful to watch as the puppetry was brought to life on stage. I managed to catch some great productions at Pleasance including The Greatest Liar in all the World which was wonderfully created and performed, and the engaging and thought provoking Broke from Paper Birds.  Back at theSpace hub, The Outback Games was full of fun and energy (I love a good musical!) and the funny yet moving We Were Kings, was beautifully performed and directed.

The Welsh companies really came in to their own this year, Dirty Protest’s Last Christmas was engaging and bang on the money, Llais/Voice was a brilliantly honest and raw performance, Hiraeth was fun, heartfelt and a total cwtch of a performance from non-actor Buddug, and Last Chance Romance was full of giggles and all the single ladies! There were brilliant reviews floating around for Land of the Dragon, The Future for Beginners and Wonders of the Universe as well, even though I sadly missed out on seeing them because there are just not enough hours in the day!

And that’s Edinburgh Fringe finished for another year: I was blindfolded, ejected from the theatre and joined by a pub full of people in singing the batman theme tune, I laughed, cried and held hands with strangers and sang… I had an absolute ball!

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