A Day at Edinburgh Fringe 2016

27 Aug 2016

The one place I never get tired of visiting is Edinburgh. The whole city has so much character and I love absolutely everything about it. The history, the people, the scenery, the architecture, the culture... everything! So when my mum announced that she'd booked us all a day trip to the Fringe festival, I was absolutely over the moon. If you're not sure what the Fringe is, it's basically an arts festival that takes over the entire city for the whole of August. There are over 300 venues where you can see dancing, music, magic, comedy, puppetry, and so much more, as well as tons of street performances. We'd been to the Fringe two times before and enjoyed every second of it, so I was crazy excited to go back.
We hopped on the train at 8:05am, and the journey took a little over 2 hours. Travelling by train with my mum isn't really all that bad though, as she plans ahead and packs picnics. This time, we had a breakfast picnic of orange juice, yogurt and granola, sausage and egg buns, and pastries, which were all lovely! When we stepped on to the platform, we were greeted with the most beautiful weather, which didn't let up at all during the course of the day. There was blue skies and beaming sunshine for our whole trip, and we definitely weren't complaining. We walked along Princes Street to collect our show tickets, and then it was time to go and find the first venue. Honestly, this took way longer than it should've and by the time we'd found it, we were all gasping for a drink. So we went to sit in George Square Gardens for a little while, which had been decked out to look like a summer circus!
The first show we saw was Sticks Stones Broken Bones (12.10pm - 1.10pm, Underbelly Potterrow), which is a shadow puppet show, where the puppets are made entirely from junk. I know, I know, it sounds really strange and not that good, but trust me, the guys that run the puppet company are amazing. We have seen a show from these guys each time that we've been to the Fringe, and we just never get bored of them. Take a look at this trailer for their show, Swamp Juice. Unlike Swamp Juice, Sticks Stones Broken Bones didn't have a story, and its compiled of lots of short stories instead. One of my favourite segments was the couple that were playing chess, where the performer used his feet and legs to create the people. It had us belly laughing and gasping with amazement, so it is definitely worth seeing. In fact, any show by the Bunk Puppets company is worth seeing, as I think they just keep getting better and better.

We had a bit of time to kill before we went to our next show, so we decided to go to one of our favourite places for lunch, Hard Rock Cafe. We absolutely love the vibe of the restaurant and the food is always incredible, so it was a no-brainer! I chose to have the Hickory Barbecue Bacon Cheeseburger, which really was as gorgeous as it sounds. Because we were out for the day and we thought we deserved a treat, J and I decided to share Chocolate Molten Cake afterwards. My goodness, it was heavenly! After eating way too much food, we browsed the shops for a little while. We only had an hour or so to look about, so I only managed to pick up some wellies to take to Leeds Festival (which I will writing about soon!), some tights and some socks. As J had taken full advantage of the countless number of Pokestops in the city, he ended up having to buy a power pack for his phone. Afterwards, we headed to our next venue.
The next show we saw was Gobsmacked! (5pm - 6pm. Underbelly George Square) and this was my favourite show of the day. I'll be honest, at first, I wasn't totally sure that I was going to enjoy it, but I was blown away by the talent that the performers had. This was an a capella singing group and a world-renowned beatboxer, which sounds a little Glee-ish, but trust me, it was incredible. At times, it was hard to believe that the music was just all human voices! The harmonies were beautiful, the atmosphere was great, but it was the beatboxer that stole the show for me. Here is just a little snippet of the things he can do. I'd never heard anything like it, and the noises that came out of his mouth were bloody insane! Another member of the group that really stood out to me was Ed, whose range was out of this world. He was able to switch between falsetto and bass in a split second, and to read that he is self taught is so crazy. All of the singers had amazing voices, but in terms of skill and range, he was definitely one of the best.

After we had all left the venue and tried our hand at beatboxing (and failing), we quickly headed over to the final venue to see our last show. Mr Swallow - Houdini (7pm - 8pm. Pleasance Courtyard) is a magical, musical biopic based on the life of Houdini. However, we were all under the impression that this was a magic show, but it turned out to an hour long musical about Houdini with a few close-up tricks and a couple of pieces of escapology. I will say, it was extremely funny and I couldn't stop laughing at the Mr Swallow character, but I just wish that there was more magic. I was very impressed by the escapology, but making a ball appear under a cup just wasn't what I was expecting. It also turns out that Jennifer Saunders and Ade Edmondson were also in the audience, and I really wasn't cool about it. I even took a sneaky picture of them as they were leaving, which you can see here! I was too nervous to ask for a photo, and we had to dash to catch our train, so a sneaky photo will have to do. 
We managed to pick up something to for tea from the street food stalls in Pleasance Courtyard, and I went for two soft shell tacos that were so messy to eat, but extremely delicious. I don't know why I thought I could eat tacos whilst rushing to catch a train, and I ended up with sour cream all over myself. But despite that, we managed to get on the train in perfect time, and settled down for another 2 hour journey home. We were all absolutely pooped but we had the most amazing time!
I definitely ate too much food, and walked so much that I probably could've hatched one of my 10km eggs on Pokemon. It was a really great day and I can't wait for next years Fringe!

Did you go to Edfringe this year? What shows would you recommend for next time, or what would you liked to have seen?

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