Posted by: chiarraigrrl | July 22, 2011

Looking forward to the Edinburgh Fringe (and International Book Festival!) 2011….

Royal Mile during the Festival

As usual, I’m gearing up for the Edinburgh Fringe Festival and Edinburgh International Book Festival in August, and there are a good few shows I’m really looking forward to. This year, for the first time ever, I’m actually going over for two whole weeks, and I can’t wait – I usually just go for a few days, and always come back wishing I had stayed longer. Two weeks, of course, means lots more time for a lot more shows. Here are some of the highlights of the shows I’m planning to see:

Des Bishop is bringing his “My Dad Was Nearly James Bond” show back to the Fringe for the first two weeks of the festival, and I’ve booked the last show of the run (which apparently is the last run of this show. Probably.). This was probably the most memorable show I saw last year, with his dad making an appearance at the end of the show. I laughed, I cried… and as I’ve seen it in Vicar Street (thanks to Des letting me have guestlist for my birthday in June), I’d like to see the last one as well (never mind the fact that it is actually one of those shows you can see several times and still enjoy). If you haven’t seen it yet, be sure to check it out – sadly there won’t be a surprise ending this year, but it’s well worth seeing anyway.

I’m all for some whimsy in life. So I’m delighted to see that the lovely David O’Doherty and the delightful Josie Long will be back in Edinburgh doing their thing on the Fringe. The mighty DO’D has two shows this year – “David O’Doherty is Looking Up” and “David O’Doherty Presents: Rory Sheridan’s Tales of The Antarctica”, both of which look like great fun. While writing this, I realised that I think I’ve been to every one of Josie Long’s Fringe shows, her “The Future is Another Place” this year being her fifth show (and my fifth time seeing her in Edinburgh). The Edinburgh Fringe wouldn’t be the same without her – her shows are always a good laugh and full of warm fuzzies.

Speaking of whimsy, I’m also looking forward to Joey Page‘s “Sparklehorse Superbrain”, which looks like fun – and the description boasts a glowing comment from Josie Long, so it’s got to be good, right? Another show that appeals to the whimsical side is Conor O’Toole‘s “Manual of Style”, which promises to be font-based comedy. In my case an offshoot of being a stationery connoisseur (*ahem* if you don’t mind) is also having a keen appreciation of fonts, so this should be good craic.

At risk of glowing about the Bishops too much, Aidan Bishop is doing what promises to be an excellent show, too; in “Misspelled” he tackles the subject of his dyslexia head-on, and gets in laughs in the process. I’ve seen this in preview at the International and it’s shaping up to be a great one – just the right mix of informational and funny. Looking forward to seeing the final version in Edinburgh.

And then, of course, there are the guaranteed-laugh “big names” – Dave Gorman, Jimeoin, Axis of Awesome (who may not be an official big name but have sold out shows at the Fringe a *lot*, and are recommended by a lot of comedians), Omid Djalili, Rich Hall, and Glenn Wool (who at any rate is a regular on the circuit and, having seen him before, I can vouch for the fact that laughs are practically guaranteed) are all doing shows at the Fringe this year, and are all well worth the ticket price. While I’m a little disappointed that some of the comedians I always see – notably Reginald D. Hunter and Brendon Burns – don’t seem to have shows this year, there are more than enough other excellent shows on to make up for it.

Finally, the Irish crew (and I’m not just name-checking them ‘cos I know some of them – these folks are good): Eric Lalor, Rory O’Hanlon, Jarlath Regan, Eddie Naessens, Foil Arms & Hog, Damien Clark (honorary Irishman), and Fred Cooke are amongst those fleeing the island for Edinburgh for the month of August. Pop in, say hi and stay for a laugh- trust me.

For two years, I’ve been meaning to get in to the Edinburgh International Book Festival, ever since I discovered it was on in Charlotte Square Gardens. With my infamous poor timing, I’ve managed to miss out on actually getting to any of the book festival events the last two years- so I’m delighted to finally have gotten my act together and booked two shows at the book fest. I’m extremely pleased at managing to get a ticket to see the famous Neil Gaiman (owner of the home library I covet) – two of his shows are sold out at this point, but on the 21st there’s a Guardian Book Club event discussing his novel “American Gods” with him.

Some of you, my dear readers, may already know I’m a member of the Cloud Appreciation Society. There’s a website that I think is somehow tangentially related to the Cloud Appreciation Society (I think one of the founders is the same, though I wasn’t able to confirm on the Cloud Appreciation Society website), called The Idler. The editor of The Idler and a contributor, Tom Hodgkinson and Matthew de Abaitua, are doing a talk at the Book Festival on the 16th of August called “Advancing Into the Slow Lane”, which looks to be right up my street (if you’ll excuse the pun).

While in Edinburgh, I highly recommend stopping at Gordon’s Trattoria if you get a chance – wonderful little restaurant on the Royal Mile with a great menu, excellent staff and service and lovely atmosphere. The first time I went in there – craving a banana split for no apparent reason at 10pm one evening (and they do the best banana splits in town) – Frank Sinatra was on the radio and staff and customers alike were singing along. Every time I’ve been in since has been a great experience – highly recommended.

Another great spot for a bit to eat is Pompeii, a little Italian restaurant in Grassmarket. Delicious food, great service and a pleasant atmosphere – always a regular stop on my trips to Edinburgh!

Counting down the days…. 🙂

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