Edinburgh Fringe 2019: Food Shows and Events guide

The Edinburgh Fringe is back, and that means a whole load of shows at least partially connected to food and drink. Let's take a look...

Feature by Peter Simpson | 25 Jul 2019
  • Food at the Fringe


Top of our admittedly-niche list of ‘food-related absurdist comedies’ is Good Morning Croissant (Heroes @ The Hive, 7.20pm), the new show from the immensely inventive Adam Larter. Larter’s show last year was not about food – it was a lo-fi disco-powered retelling of the story of King Arthur – but now he’s getting very culinary. Well, he’s trapped inside a cardboard supermarket. Hoot and chuckles guaranteed.

Also food-adjacent and also fantastic are sketch duo The Delightful Sausage, on this list for two food-related reasons. One: Amy Gledhill’s giant hotdog costume. Two: their 2019 show is called Ginster’s Paradise (Monkey Barrel, 12pm). That’s. How. You. Attract. This. Author's. Attention.

From sausages to eggs, and the new show from comedian and kitchen-bound Heath Robinson impersonator George Egg. Egg’s previous shows – Anarchist Chef and DIY Chef – have featured live cooking with trouser presses, irons and giant blowtorches. His latest, Moveable Feast (Assembly George Square, 4.30pm), offers advice on getting one’s gourmet on while mid-train journey.

For fans of eating while sitting still, we have just the thing – Dan vs Food (Pleasance Courtyard, 1.30pm, 14 Aug only). It promises… well, it promises that 'a man called Dan will eat a three-course meal live on stage in a 750 seat theatre.' Given that this is the Fringe, the event is for charity (in aid of food poverty charity FareShare), and the list of participants on the Pleasance website reads like an explosion in a comedy flyer factory, we suspect there’s a bit more to it than that. He better eat that meal though.

Not into watching someone eat? What about someone talking about what they can’t eat? In Bread with Joseph Emslie (Laughing Horse @ Cabaret Voltaire, 12.25pm) is the stand-up comedian’s look at his life as a coeliac. Talking about eating more generally is the domain of Jessica Fostekew’s The Hoovering Podcast (Monkey Barrel, 3pm, 13 & 14 Aug only). The pod features a host of hilarious and interesting people talking about good things they’ve eaten, with a pair of recordings lined up for this year’s Fringe.

And if you like your laughs liberally sprinkled with booze, The Thinking Drinkers have you covered with their new show Heroes of Hooch (Underbelly Bristo Square, 8.20pm). You’ll get through five drinks over the course of the show, which, in our experience, goes some way to making up for the slightly dry nature of the material. Three-star comedy, five-star hospitality.

Cabaret, dance and theatre

Gin! Gin and cabaret, but mainly gin! That’s the pitch of The Gin Show (Hill Street Theatre, 8.40pm), comprised of a trio of gin tastings with some music and performance thrown in for ballast. Described as ‘the perfect way to end a day at the Fringe’ twice in the space of one blurb on the Fringe website, if that helps your decision either way.

Or maybe you want something a bit more robust? Hitler’s Tasters (Greenside @ Infirmary Street, 6.35pm) tells the tales of the women forced to act as poison tasters for Hitler during his rule. Also over in ‘serious drama’ territory is the intriguing Comrade Egg and the Chicken of Tomorrow (Pleasance Courtyard, 11.25am). Comrade Egg uses physical theatre and clowning to tackle the issue of PTSD in abattoir workers, and to take on the excesses of the meat industry more generally.

Slightly lighter is Just Desserts (Underbelly Cowgate, 10.40pm), a foodie cabaret from ‘Australia's singing cook’, Michelle Pearson. This one’s got it all – live pop-rock! Meditations on the power of societal expectations! Free dessert at the end!

And for something a bit stronger, two productions with one-word names that’ll have you reaching for the thesaurus. First up, Chocolate (Assembly Rooms, 2.30pm), an immersive dance piece that takes our collective love for a Freddo and turns it up to 11. “Immerse yourself in cacao, conflicting desires, the anticipation of tasting and full-bodied wild sensory dance,” they say. "Well alright," we reply.

Then there’s Feast (Summerhall, various times), and the phrase 'Dionysian anarchy' in the brochure blurb. A one-woman physical theatre show about our relationship with food, the rituals of dining and the excesses of modern consumerism, all expressed in extremely visceral fashion.

Food events and masterclasses

Sometimes it’s not enough to watch someone pretend they’re a sausage, or to see a performer explore our darkest recesses while also covering themselves in milk. Sometimes, we just want to learn something we can take into our everyday lives.

Something like ‘how to make gin and tonic taste good’, perhaps. The Arbikie Gin Masterclass (The A Club at the Merchants Hall, times vary) will see the Arbroath-based field-to-bottle distillery talk you through their spirits, explain the art of the mythical Perfect Serve, and treat you to a fancy cocktail while they’re at it.

Or maybe you want to learn how to describe/enjoy/brag about whisky. A Dram is Worth a Thousand Words (The Scotch Malt Whisky Society, various times) is the event for you, offering up a tutored trio of whiskies under the guise of a learned scholar from SMWS. If you want to get more immersive with your whisky drinking, Whisky Through the Ages (Jeffrey St Whisky & Tobacco, various times) is a ‘journey’ through the history of the national drink. Five drams, much chat, big immersion.

And if you just want to throw yourself headlong into the world of whisky, All Senses Ahead! (SMWS, various times) has a bit of everything. There’s a trio of whiskies to try, and there’s a three-course meal to get stuck into. There are stories and songs to hear, and some historical facts to attempt to remember. There is also, for some reason, a virtual reality element to all this, so if you ever feel like you’ve had enough of the Fringe this August, there is at least one place you can (pretty much) get away from it all.