ED2013 Columns ED2013 Comedy

Joey Page: Five tips for surviving the Fringe

By | Published on Monday 8 July 2013

Joey Page

And so, as Festival 2013 approaches, Team ThreeWeeks have decided that award-nominated comedian Joey Page – who routinely garners sparkling reviews from our reviewers – has been around the Fringe long enough to finally qualify to write an article telling you how to survive it. And it’s not just for newcomers; read on, old hands, for you may just learn something too.

BANG. And like a gun powder flash from a cannon, the fair city of Edinburgh and its mahoosive Fringe Festival hits you, assaulting all your senses: the sound of bagpipes; the Weetabix smell coming from the brewery; the menagerie of performers jostling for position within your personal space, whilst all the states of weather take their lead and do the same overhead. Jumper on, sunnies off, rain mac away, pasty vest arms out… SHORTS? Sorry, I got carried away.

Welcome to Edinburgh, kids. Now, whether you are a grizzled veteran or a first timer, the Fringe can get the better of anybody if you try to spin too many plates at once, or if you get a little bit over indulgent – so here is my quick survival guide.

Deal with the flyerers
If you soon find yourself niggled by some impro dude spouting jargon like “tour de force” at you through the medium of interpretive dance whilst showing a five star review that his troupe got back in 1996 from the website Improvosaurus-Rex which is run by the perpetrator’s auntie, be armed with a fist full of flyers from your favourite shows, and hit back at him “Sorry mate I’m just flyering for my own show”.

Get away from the bustle
Head for the wonderful Meadows, one of the most tranquil areas of Edinburgh during the Fringe. It’s one of the best spots to partake in a bit of people watching; here you will find a safari of human life. Comedians playing football and taking it a bit too seriously; couples debating heatedly about whether to see a techno-inspired version of ‘Swan Lake’ or some ‘Mock The Week’ moosh who’s graffiti-ed visage looks down on them from an outsized poster.

See good stuff
It’s hard to write an article like this without mentioning what to see, because with fourteen billion nine hundred and six shows on at this year’s Fringe it’s hard to get along to them all. If I were you, I’d draw up a timetable allowing yourself a bit of time between shows, ie allow time to hunt for a venue trying its best to camouflage itself from you, as you jog, gleaming with sweat, around Edinburgh’s backstreet labyrinth like a cultural Anneka Rice.

There are many shows on, and I am only qualified to recommend comedians, as it is my own area of expertise. Cough, Cough. Starting with my own. Come on, guys. I can’t make a dent in my crippling Fringe bills by column inches alone, so here goes. I am doing a little show entitled ‘Reality Is Outside, Paradise Is In Your Brain’, an hour of silly surreal comedy to distract you from the trials of everyday life. Pleasance Courtyard 8.30pm.

Other people I wholeheartedly recommend are Sara Pascoe, Charlie Chuck, Pete Hathaway and Benny Boot, and if you are on a budget check out great free shows from Trevor Lock, Gerry Howell, Paul F Taylor and the wonderful Luke McQueen.

Play the game
I have invented a useful points system for you; use it to see if you can become a Legend Of The Fringe. Scoring goes as follows:

• See every show on your checklist: 1000pts
• Spot the man playing the mobile piano: 200pts
• Find a secret bar: 150pts
• See a show that goes on to get award nominated: 750pts
• Avoid getting wet the whole time: 150000pts
• Reveal ambitions to climb Arthur’s Seat and never actually do it: 300pts
• Eat a local delicacy (battered pizza, macaroni pie, etc): 100pts

Eat and drink well
There are few better things than discovering a good thing before anyone else, and let’s be honest, one of those things is good food, and this can be done in a simple 3-2-1.

3: The Marmaris kebab house on Clerk Street does the best kebab wraps, and that is an Actual Fact;  if it’s burgers you want, you can’t beat the Aberdeen Angus van outside the Gilded Balloon.

2: The Pie Maker on South Bridge does Lasagne pie. Enough said.

1: And my favourite place to eat in Edinburgh has to be Mamma’s on Grassmarket because it does baked beans and cactus on a pizza, and not even the battered Mars bar can tempt me to change my mind.

Once you’ve eaten, one of the best hideaways to get drunk in into the wee small hours (now that the Pleasance Dome has been turned into a wooden nightmare resembling a Centre Parcs) is going to be Bob Slayer’s late night hang out, open until late, a cocktail-bar-come-bookshop run by a madman who will surely win Spirit Of The Fringe; what could possibly go wrong? It’s the perfect place to tot up your Edinburgh points, and tweet your score to @thejoeypage. I’ll probably be sat across from you in a dark corner.

‘Joey Page: Reality Is Outside, Paradise Is In Your Brain’ was performed at Pleasance Courtyard at Edinburgh Festival 2013.

LINKS: www.joey-page.co.uk | twitter.com/thejoeypage