The Edinburgh Fringe Festival is going online. (Check out the thirty below.) Now, officially; the oldest and largest fringe festival has been canceled because of the pandemic. But the festival wants to “Keep the Fringe spirit alive” by encouraging theater companies to put their shows online. This offers New York theatergoers a chance to get a Fringe fix in August for the first time since 2016, when the New York International Fringe Festival celebrated its 20th anniversary, then shut down for a year — and then announced it was moving to October.
Edinburgh’s Fringe is not New York’s Fringe. It’s unjuried, and it’s….overwhelming. In 2018, there were reportedly 3,548 different shows performed in 317 venues; in 2019, more than three million people attended, which was more than six times the entire population of this city in Scotland. The New York Fringe never had more than 75,000 theatergoers attending some (juried) 200 shows in 16 venues.
There was never a way to offer an adequate preview of the Edinburgh Fringe (the way I did every year of the New York Fringe), and it’s not much easier now when Edinburgh is coming to your living room — or, in at least one case, your bathroom.
“Play In Your Bathtub,” an audio play that I reviewed when it debuted in April is going to Edinburgh. It’s one of eighty shows “all written and produced in lockdown” that are being presented for free over the next three weeks at The Space UK, which this year is a virtual space. This is just one venue at Virtual Edinburgh, but even 80 is too much. So below are the 30 that are going online starting this Saturday, August 8th at TheSpaceUK website. A new batch of roughly the same number will go online every Saturday for the rest of August. Click on each poster to read the descriptions.
For what it’s worth, the ones that most intrigue me include two from the Edinburgh-based Anomaly Theatre Company:
“Interrodated, “He thinks he’s interrogating a suspect. She thinks she’s on a blind date. This is not going to end well.”
“Glitch” A driverless car runs over a woman, and has to learn grief.
and “Bookshelf Ballad,” in which the books we always see behind the TV pundits are given voice to say what THEY are thinking.