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The Dead Secrets: Top Five Edinburgh Secrets

By | Published on Tuesday 6 August 2013

The Dead Secrets

Comedy sketch troupe The Dead Secrets are in Edinburgh right now performing their latest show ‘Bulletproof Jest’. As a group they are new to this Edinburgh Fringe lark, but at least one of the team’s members (let’s call him Phillip for the sake of argument) does have some insider knowledge on both Edinburgh and the Festival. So here he is with The Dead Secrets’ Top Five Edinburgh Secrets.

1. Secret Fringe
The first major problem for any Fringe performer with new material is “What the hell do we call our show?” So you tear your hair out thinking of a brilliant name that no-one is likely to have come up with before. Then you Google it, swear, and start to think of another one…

Whatever name you have, there’ll be others using similar words. I must confess that I checked edfringe.com for groups and shows that have the word “secret” in them – purely out of curiosity, you understand – and discovered eight secret listings other than The Dead Secrets. My top picks from this small but perfectly formed group include theatre O & Young Vic’s production of ‘The Secret Agent’ at the Traverse and Amnesty’s Secret Comedy Podcast, with a different line-up of top comedians for each show.

Plus there is the ‘Seven Secrets Of The Working Actor’ workshop (7 Aug) given by members of the New York Conservatory For Dramatic Arts. It’s just one of a diverse range of workshops run during the Fringe that are simultaneously hugely popular, yet not widely known about. It’s well worth delving into that section of the Fringe programme and attending a workshop; who knows what secret knowledge you might learn?

2. Secret History Of Edinburgh
How much do you know about the history of this city then? The terrible myths and legends that surround Mary King’s Close, for example, or the bloody history of David’s Tower at the Castle, or the dreadful deeds of Burke and Hare? That’s probably all a bit bloodthirsty and negative, isn’t it? So to balance it out there’s always that legend of the loyal and cute dog Greyfriars Bobby, if you like that sort of thing. Plus there are about a million-and-one other wonderful facts, figures and stories to seek out in this city. So if you can spare a few minutes from your packed schedule, why not allow yourself to be an Edinburgh tourist for an afternoon?

3. Secret Places In Edinburgh (And Its Environs)
Again, this foolishly assumes that you’ll have an hour or two to spare (“Come on, Phil” I hear you say, “it’s the Fringe! I’ve only got five minutes to get to that Esperanto version of ‘Cat On A Hot Tin Roof’* on the other side of town, dammit”) but it’s worth remembering that Edinburgh is really, really beautiful.

Yeah, that’s no secret really, but when during the Fringe do you stop for a few minutes to just stand still and look around you? Take a sec to admire the architecture, check out the secret Royal Mile gardens, or if you’re feeling adventurous, wander down to the Waters Of Leith for a pleasant river stroll, climb Arthur’s Seat, or even leave the city for an afternoon and head out to Gullane beach for some sand and sea air. I could go on all day, but I need a coffee.

4. Local Secrets
I haven’t lived in Edinburgh since my student days, which was *cough* years ago, so I was a bit concerned that it would take me a while to seek out a really decent cup of coffee, or a half decent bar, you know, those special kinds of places that only local residents know about, off the beaten path. But fortunately for us someone invented the internet. Just search for “I know this great little place in Edinburgh” in Facebook and let the knowledge set you free. And don’t blame me if you can’t get a coffee in your favourite cafe any more because it’s full of people who got there via Facebook – it’s good for the economy!

5. Edinburgh Fringe Secrets
This isn’t strictly a secret either (I’m doing my best here) but the good people of the Fringe Society work damn hard supporting the shows that come to Edinburgh and all the thousands of Fringe-goers buying tickets and asking every conceivable question under the sun, like “is the play really in Esperanto?”. And they coordinate the 2 for 1 offers and oversee the street performances and make great t-shirts you can buy. Plus there’s all those workshops and suchlike at Fringe Central – if you have already used up the ‘Seven Secrets Of The Working Actor’ check out the full programme of events for performers. You knew about all them right? If not,  well that’s another secret out of the bag.

6. Secrets of… The Dead Secrets…
What do you mean I can’t have a Top Six? But I was going to tell you that my group The Dead Secrets is named after a novel by Wilkie Collins, and that we have a rocket scientist among our ranks, and that our sketch show ‘Bulletproof Jest’ is really funny because of the emergency vicars and the unpleasant bear and don’t even get me started on the terrifying Space Geese… oh, well, if I can’t tell you about all that then you’ll have to come and see the show, won’t you?

*And yes, I did make that show up, but I’m sure someone will put it on next year… Enjoy your Fringe!

‘Bulletproof Jest’ by The Dead Secrets was performed at theSpace @ Surgeon’s Hall at Edinburgh Festival 2013.

LINKS: www.thedeadsecrets.com | twitter.com/thedeadsecrets