Skint Guide: Edinburgh Festival

August 20, 2016

I made my first trip to the Edinburgh Festival this year and absolutely loved it and wanted to share all my top picks and tips with you all. I went for a week with my family (which was plenty of time) and we had the best time, the vibe at the Festival is so good - anything goes and everyone feels welcome. Everyone is there to have fun and there's so many amazing things to see and do. Festival style is also amazing, and I would defo recommend you to wear that outfit that you may normally think is a bit too eccentric - I guarantee at the Fringe it will make you feel like a star.
Most of my suggestions are comedy themed and you will be sure to have a belly ache from laughing so much at the Fringe, but the Festival offers such a brilliant variety you could go for a week and not see any comedy at all.

Without further ado, here are my best recommendations!

Stand Up:

James Acaster: Reset - £13 (Concession)
James Acaster is a big favourite at the Festival, he's been nominated for the Edinburgh Comedy Award Best Show four years in a row and has also been winning award after award. So we had quite high expectations and he did not disappoint. He's brilliantly funny, with a very clever humour and great storytelling ability. He is likely to sell out but if you can get the chance to see him then I would defo recommend it. 

James Acaster

Mark Watson: I'm Not Here - £8
You'll probably recognise Mark Watson off the telly, he's a favourite on panel shows etc. He is very funny, extremely down to earth and acts like he's having a conversation with a group of friends. He is great fun, completely relaxed and a total natural.

Mark Watson
Comedy Plays:

Shit-Faced Shakespeare - £7.50
This is just hilarious fun. It's as the name suggests - Shakespeare made more lively with one unpredictable drunk cast member. This year the play was Measure for Measure which I had recently studied at Uni and this was definitely more enjoyable. If you fancy a good laugh at some Shakespearean silliness I would recommend this for sure.

Shit Faced Shakespeare

Austentatious - £11.50 (Concession)
Austentatious is more wonderful silly fun. Audience members suggest titles for a play the cast should perform completely improvised so every play is totally different but all are undoubtedly hilarious. We saw 'Love in the Time of Chlamydia' (mega lols title, props to whoever came up with it) it was excellent and had the whole audience laughing. This is another Fringe fave and is likely to sell out but defo try and see it as it's such good fun!


Something Else:

Max & Ivan: Our Story - £11.50 (Concession)
This was the first show we saw at the Fringe and my whole family absolutely loved it. It is so well performed and incredibly clever, will make you laugh uncontrollably and have you smiling for hours after watching it. It's had rave reviews and I really, really recommend you see this as it was one of my favourites of the Fest.

Max and Ivan

Adam Kay: Fingering A Minor on the Piano - £12 (Concession)
Another of my absolute Fringe favourites was Adam Kay. He will make you laugh and he actually made me cry. An incredibly clever mix of songs and anecdotes with a heartfelt and powerful message. I cannot recommend this enough.

Adam Kay

Marcel Lucont's Whine List - £10
Another very clever, very witty performance this time from Frenchman Marcel Lucont (the persona of Alexis Dubus, who actually does a rather endearing free show). This is something a little bit different and it makes for an enjoyable and charming evening.

Marcel Lucont's Whine List

Free Shows -

As mentioned above, there are also a huge number of free shows at the Fringe and part of the fun is trying something that's free and possibly discovering a hidden gem. We only managed to catch Alexis Dubus and Matt Green due to my dad (wonderfully) organising a jam packed Fringe but there's loads on offer.

Check out the links below which have listings for all the free shows at this year's Ed Fest:

There's also loads of street performances going on all over the city, head over to the Royal Mile for some free fun.

My general tips for surviving the Edinburgh Fringe: 

  • Pack sensibly, remember that you are in the UK and the weather is never how you want it to be. When we were in Edinburgh it was rainy every day and really windy so I'm really glad I packed layers, sadly my sandals didn't get any use but you can guarantee if I didn't pack them it would've been glorious sunshine.
  • Get a map! Edinburgh is quite tricky to navigate around the winding paths and it's bigger than you'd expect. There should be one in your Fringe Guide (available free in all venues at the Fest), if you don't have one head to Tourist Information near Waverly Station. 
  • Wear comfy shoes - there will be a lot of walking.
  • Don't be too over ambitious - some days we had 6 things booked and it could feel a bit too much. Like I say, part of the fun of Edinburgh is checking out new things. There are people giving out leaflets for shows everywhere, maybe you'll discover a new favourite at a bargain price. I'd probably say 3 or 4 shows is the perfect amount, theatre is usually around lunch time and comedy later in the evening so it's good to get a mix. Also leave a good amount of time between each show, it's not really fun having to run from one venue to the next and ending up stuck on the front row being constantly picked on by a comedian.
  • Check out Virgin's Half Price Hut at the Mound which is open 10am-9pm and you can pick up half price tickets for loads of shows. Defo worth a look if you fancy grabbing a cheaper deal.
  • Most venues have a Sold Out board which gives a good idea for which shows to try and book tickets for later on in the week. Talking to people in more sociable venues like Pleasance Courtyard or Udderbelly can also offer a good insight into good shows to check out.
  • Read reviews, but don't rely on them. Reviews offer a good indication but also trust your gut and see what you want to see. My go tos for reviews are The Guardian, Three Weeks, The List, The Times and Broadway Baby. 
  • Be patient and factor in crowds for travelling time. It is expectedly busy during Festival season and is therefore extremely crowded and this can make it hard to get through the shuffling hoards of people if you're in a rush. Be patient. 
  • Pack snacks and drinks, there are very rarely bag checks for events and drinks are stupidly expensive at venues (over £20 for 4 ciders at Pleasance Dome) so pack your own drinks and snacks to keep you going on a busy day of shows. I'd also recommend packing an umbrella.
  • The shortlists for Edinburgh Comedy Awards are announced on the 24th this year which is another way of discovering the best shows of the Fest - stay alert on the day and try and get tickets if you can.

I hope this post has been helpful and that if you're going to the Fringe you have the best time. It's such a fun place and I will definitely be returning!

Disclaimer: None of the photos used are mine, they are all press photos for the Fringe. I, in fact, went to the Edinburgh Festival without a phone (so I sadly have no photos) - more on that to come!

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