The whole month of August is a festival here in Edinburgh. It’s called the Fringe Festival, and is basically celebrating all forms of art and entertainment. All month long you can go to cheap or free shows, listen to a huge array of buskers on the streets of the city centre, see stand up comedy, and go about wearing a ridiculous costume because you definitely won’t be the only one. If you’re lucky, you may also run into a celebrity. Probably not a really big one, but maybe one that most people will remember once you tell them where the celebrity is from.
Unfortunately because of finishing my master’s degree and starting work, I wasn’t fully able to enjoy the festival, although I did completely appreciate many of the buskers. I managed to go to two shows, however, and I think I picked pretty good ones.
The first is the biggie. The royal military tattoo held at Edinburgh castle.
What is it? Some of you may be asking. Basically a marching band showcase from all the royal military units, the pipe bands, and military units from across the world.
Pipers. So many bagpipes. My kind of heaven. People are amazed, but I really can’t imagine getting sick of hearing bagpipes.
About ten minutes into the show, it started pouring rain. But each country presented their military bands and dancers with pride.
Some of the countries present were:
South Africa (with Zulu warriors, very possibly my favorite act)
India (although with the feathers and headdresses and whooping they did in their dance, I’m not sure that they weren’t talking about some tribe of Native Americans)
Singapore (great showmanship from them)
New Zealand (Maori warriors, my other favorite)
And Trinidad and Tobago with the world’s only steel drum military band!
And here are the groups from Scotland:
Kids with violins and violas from Shetland
And the royal navy. Loved their drum core.
And to give you an idea of the immense amount of rain, here’s a shot from singing “Auld Lang Syne” at the end:
The other show I saw was “I Need a Doctor: the Unauthorized Whosical”.
This was basically Tumblr in musical form. Not only did they reenact Doctor Who (it was different, but the same), they also parodied Phantom of the Opera, Les Miserables, Rent, musicals in general, and many other pop culture phenomenons. The play consisted of the two actors pictured above, who were also the writer and director, household items used as props, an electric keyboard with keyboardist, and a great blue telephone box (different, but the same). But with only that, it was hilarious. I mean, everyone laughed.
Keep in mind that I have only seen one episode of Doctor Who, and the rest of my knowledge of it is gleaned from Tumblr and Pinterest because I follow so many geeky people. I think I understood most of it, but I’m sure some references escaped me. I feel like that was pretty good, and it actually got me stoked to get into Doctor Who (just can’t watch it alone – those freaky angels will give me nightmares, probably the rest of the aliens will, too). Of course, I’ll do pretty much anything suggested by a super fine ginger singing on stage. 🙂
I am grateful to have quiet streets back, though I’ll miss the classical guitarists and pipers that played outside my store every day, but I’m so glad I was able to enjoy at least some of Edinburgh’s very fantastic fringe!