Fringe Festival Launch

Edinburgh looks forward to another three-week whirlwind

Feature by Caroline Hurley | 15 Jul 2006

The 60th annual Fringe Festival was launched with a banquet of donuts and pink champagne served by platinum blonde waitresses in a nod to the camp, outlandish and alternative persona that the event still cherishes.

Much was made of the 'unofficial theme' that inevitably emerges each year, with the programme for this August displaying a definite religious bent to many acts. Not that this could lead to predictability though, this is the Fringe after all, so expect a four day reading of the entire Bible between the hard-hitting theatre and Brokeback Mountain spoofing.

Comedy, home of the sell-out show at the Fringe, shows signs of maturing in its 60th year as many stand up stars, including red-neck hero Rich Hall and the ubiquitous Stewart Lee have moved from stand-up to directing duties. This making way for last years rising stars to become the new establishment.

This evolution that occurs across all disciplines is what makes the Fringe so unique; glancing through the guide can induce de ja vu from previous years, yet the sight of familiar faces helps to enforce the identity of Edinburgh's unparalleled cultural event. Sixty years on and the same visitors return to rub shoulders with first-timers and see their favourite acts competing with the latest in Faustus on-ice monkey opera…well, things of that sort.

As ever, the sheer breadth of content is both enticing and overwhelming; for three weeks of the year in our otherwise conservative city, a production of Finnegan's Wake sits happily alongside the stage version of classic seventies film Midnight Cowboy and, for reasons best known to themselves, sees the return of the Goodies. So go grab a guide, get your red pens out and start circling, The Skinny will see you there……..

The Fringe Festival Guide is available now.