'It would be nice if audiences came in with open minds and generous spirits' | The Big Ask: Has the 'spirit of the Fringe' been lost

'It would be nice if audiences came in with open minds and generous spirits'

The Big Ask: Has the 'spirit of the Fringe' been lost

I think there’s a problem with most arts festivals - they’re effectively subsidised money-wise by the artists, and especially the new and the young ones. That’s broken. But the weird, wonderful, properly fringe shows are still there, just some are easier to find than others. John Luke Roberts, All I Wanna Do Is [FX: GUNSHOTS] With a [FX: GUN RELOADING] and [FX: CASH REGISTER] and Perform Some Comedy!, Assembly: Studio Five, 17:30

Every generation gets told they just missed the time when things were real and pure and wonderful. Old people always tell the young people about the good old days. The fringe is big enough that if you go searching for it, you'll find whatever version of it you're looking for. Having said that, it's just the worst, right? WINKY FACE. Mat Ricardo, Mat Ricardo vs The World, City Cafe, 12:30 E

In some ways, yes: there sometimes seems to be a touch too much of ‘the consumer’ about punters in Edinburgh now. It all has to be on their terms: they reserve the right to only go for the best-of-the-best based on what the right publications have told them, and they can complain bitterly when it doesn’t meet their standards. But it would be nice if audiences came in with open minds and generous spirits, enjoying the variety of it all for its own sake. That said, they’re hard-working people who have given up money and time, and we’re all entitled London creatives who need constant adulation. Let them have their negative ‘audience comment’, God bless ‘em. Moon, Pleasance Attic, 21:30

Absolutely not. Go to venues you've never heard of, pick shows at random and take some positive energy in with you. That is the spirit of the Fringe. Rob Carter, I Spy With My Little Eye Something Beginning With Why Have You Been Sleeping With My Wife: a play by Christopher Bliss, Pleasance 10 Dome, 19:00

I think the tide it is fighting against is just stronger, but there's still plenty of magic in it. Anyone who genuinely cares about what they're making has that spirit, when they don't get distracted by some other bullshit. Charlie Partridge, I Can Make You Feel Good. By Comparison, Just The Tonic at The Caves, 16:50

It’s still alive in little pockets but you have to know where to find it. Christian Talbot, Desperately Seeking Approval, Finnegan’s Wake, 12:00

The spirit of the Fringe is doing it because it's fun, and despite all your better judgement. Barry Ferns, Barry Loves You, The Tron, 21:00

No. The spirit of the Fringe is alive and well! It gets more exciting every year. Apart from when the Olympics are on and none of the journalists are bovved. Edinburgh is like Glastonbury but with a better line up (and longer toilet queues). Lolly Jones, Fifty Shades of May, Assembly Roxy, 20:50

The Fringe has always had a mean spirit. Edinburgh landlords and estate agents have always exploited the shit out of us morons. They still can’t believe their luck that we all decamp up there to pay for the lifestyles of the already doing OK. It'd be different if we all rented council flats and sent those off on holidays. But as it is, poor deluded performers continue to pay our needy tax. Tony Law, A Lost Show, Monkey Barrel, 15:00

I don't think so. There's always a show in a bin or something and you're still allowed to lose a ton of money so all is at it should be. Kieran Hodgson, '75, Pleasance Beneath, 20:15

No, I've got it. It looks like Simon Munnery Tom Neenan, It's Always Infinity, Underbelly Bristo Square, 15:45

No, of anything there is too much spirit. We need less spirit and more dogged realism. Athena Kugblenu, Follow The Leader, Underbelly, Clover, 17:30

I find it funny that it is always older folk complain about the ‘spirit of the Fringe’ being lost when they are the people who had the ability to change things for the better and didn’t. Sadly the spirit of the Fringe is often mixed up with the nostalgia of when it cost £1.35 for a Tennents. Struan Logan, Struan All Over the World, Counting House: Attic, 18:05

No way... She pops her little booty out from behind a tree in the meadows every once in a while, saying, "Yoo hoo! Here I am! tee hee." I've seen her. Natalie Palamides, Nate, Pleasance Courtyard, 18:00

I think with the Free Fringe, it's back. Arnab Chanda, Stories From Arnab, Banshee Labyrinth, 17:00

It's having a resurgence, but isn't helped by the monopolisation of big agents and producers who book everything up, so it's harder for the less well-known to get a venue, let alone any exposure. It's also disgustingly expensive, like Waitrose. David Ephgrave, My Part in His Downfall, Just the Tonic at The Caves, 12:00

It's clinging on, but barely. There's too much money involved. Which is why I like performing with Heroes - it's got a DIY vibe and doesn't rip-off the acts. I actually make money at the Fringe - although not much! Ali Brice, Ali Brice's Lemonade Stand, The Hive, 14:30

The spirit of anarchy, experimentalism and diversity is alive and well, although more on the Free Fringe than the main hubs. The commodification of comedy has led to a lot of comedy becoming quite shit and boring. The big agencies look at a comedian's demographics first instead of seeing who's funniest and most interesting. Leo Kearse, Right Wing Comedian, Espionage - Pravda, 19:30

I mean it’s there somewhere, you just have to ignore all the effing PR people. Brett Goldstein, What Is Love Baby Don't Hurt Me, Pleasance: Beneath, 19:00

I doubt it ever really existed did it? I suspect it was because it was mostly a load of Oxbridge people who could afford to doss around for a month. Glad it's gone if so. Lee Kyle, Kicking Potatoes Into The Sea, City Cafe, 10:20

This is my fourth year on the trot, and in 2014 the Fringe was already expensive, brutal, competitive, and dominated by people who had been to clown school, so as far as I'm concerned, the spirit is ever growing! Rob Oldham, Worm's Lament, Pleasance Courtyard, 21:30

I don't think so, I still love the energy of the festival: I love to see people from everywhere so committed and so happy to share their talent. Luca Cupani, Luca Cupani: God Digger, Underbelly: George Square, 17:20

I think the cost has made it more prohibitive for the acts from a less wealthy background. It's always going to be expensive but the costs of putting on a show can leave an act with a bill that takes months to clear, its a massive risk. That said I think for many acts, including myself, who are based outside of London, it's the only way to be seen. Scott Bennett, Leap Year, Just The Tonic At The Mash House, 17:55

The essence of 'twats showing off in a place' doesn't get lost because more twats show up. Garrett Millerick, Sunflower, Tron, 17:00

God no! It’s always changing and that upsets some people. Damien Warren-Smith, Garry Starr Performs Everything, Underbelly Cowgate, 20:10

There is a feeling of 'industry' where acts all drink in members places. That seems wanky. Ashley Haden, We all Die C*nts, Harry's Southside, 20:45

There’s an argument for that. Parts of it have certainly become commercial, but I think you can still rock up to a tiny room for free and see someone doing something insane, such as storming a castle (Paul Duncan McGarrity), tromboning for laughs (Faye Treacy) and being beautifully funny about Alzheimer's (Matthew Highton). Richard Soames, Richard Soames: Let's Make a Movie, Underbelly - Buttercup, 15:55

....and thanks to all the comics who did a 'spirit' pun involving whisky. We won't embarrass you...

Published: 19 Aug 2018

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