Monday, June 11, 2007

Yes, It's Festival (Tips) Time Again

I'd previously jotted down some notes last year as to how to get the best out of a Festival trip. But as we've just started sorting out what we're seeing this year (2007) (edit: we have now posted our picks for 2008), it seemed like a good opportunity to be lazy and repost the same thing again revisit it.

Tip 1
Edinburgh is a long way away. Just ask any Glaswegian, it's practically foreign at the best of times (salt & sauce - that's just wrong), and during the Festival it's even weirder. However it's actually only 50 minutes by very regular trains, that even tend to run slightly later for our convenience during August. So if you don't feel like paying £200 per night for an Edinburgh box room, staying in Glasgow wouldn't be the end of the world. One thing to watch with the trains is that they don't always stop at the stations in between, so you might need to go all the way to Glasgow, then back out again.

Tip 2

Take a carrier bag/rucksack/black bin liner. No matter how determined you are not to end up with flyers advertising trapeze artiste nuns reciting Dickens (TM View From The Stalls - it's our idea), it's easier just to give in and accept anything someone tries to give you. The alternative is a 5 minute conversation explaining how you would really love to see their show if you had time/money/full frontal lobotomy (delete as appropriate), and the possibility of seeing a grown person cry.

The leaflets do also have a purpose. The best one we got last year was a fancy fan shaped one - which was actually damn good as a fan. Even if you're not lucky enough to get one that good, A5 thick paper waved in front of your face can be quite refreshing. Very few venues have air conditioning.

Tip 3
Following on from above the weather has to get a mention. You will need (in no particular order) waterproof shoes, sandals, sunglasses, jacket, umbrella, sun cream. You get the idea. The weather can be unpredictable, so dust off your Scout/Guide motto - 'Be Prepared'. Venues can be some distance apart, and sitting through something in soaking wet clothes is never fun. However, depending on the show, there might be no objections to removing those clothes (hey - if it's a selling point for some shows, why shouldn't the audience get in on the act).

Actually forget the umbrella. You'll either be wading through so many people you'll end up removing someone's eye, or it'll be too windy. There's always a local pub to take shelter in.

Tip 4
Planning your day might be useful. Venues can be spread quite a distance apart, and finding out you've got a 30 minute walk to get to the show that starts in 5 minutes time can be a little unnerving. And you just know that it will be the one show you really wanted to see, and paid a small fortune for tickets. It's at times like this that a good deodorant will be appreciated by the people who are sitting next to you.

Venues are also packing performances in, so overuns are quite common. You can't rely on things starting, or more importantly finishing, on time.

Tip 5
Don't panic if you're at a loose end. Remember those leaflets we talked about up there? You could actually read them and pick something out at the last minute. You might even get the tickets cheaper or even free. Remember though - it might be a hidden gem, but if it's too cheap it's usually for a reason.

Also remember that you've got to eat.

In other news, the annual search for the best Fringe titles has started (NB best titles, we're passing no comment on the shows).

It's a close run thing at the moment between:

Xenu is Loose! Cower puny Humans as the Dark Prince of the Galactic Federation rains Atomic Death once more upon your Pitiful Planet - The Musical!


A (Gay Disabled Transexual) Love Story Told to a Ticket Inspector at Alton Towers.

Please let us know if you find any better than those.

2 Heckles

Anna Lowman (annawaits) said...

It'll be my first time at the Fringe this year, so I'm vry grateful for the tips!

Waldorf said...

Although the mention of the 2 plays at the bottom of this post was more than slightly tongue in cheek, the nice people responsible for "A (Gay Disabled Transexual) Love Story Told to a Ticket Inspector at Alton Towers" have been kind enough to send us a press pack.

Silly title aside it does actually sound quite interesting, and if life outside the Fringe (yes there is one!) didn't get in the way for its run (13-18 August, 22:10 at Theatre Workshop (Venue 20)) I'd consider going to see it now.

However I wouldn't be doing so if I hadn't seen the extra info - possibly so blinded by the completely absurd title (sorry guys ). It just goes to show that the attention grabbing titles might catch your eye - but for some people they can also act as a turn off for what you're trying to get us to see.