It’s easy to get philosophical at the Edinburgh Fringe, especially after a few drinks. For me, it’s the serendipity and the conversations that you stumble into that make it truly special.
The other night, I got chatting to a woman from New Jersey after I stepped on her foot. She recommended a free improv show called BattleActs she’d seen twice already. An Irish girl and her friend overheard us, and asked for directions to The Counting House where the show was being staged. New Jersey said she’d take us there, and the four of us saw the show together.
It then transpired that Irish’s cousin was actually in the troupe, so I ended up talking to him and another of his fellow cast members in a pub after the show. As the conversation went on, they were almost evangelical about the free productions - deeming the ‘real’ Fringe as something they truly ‘believe in’. But this religion has demons, too. Both during and after the show, they singled out Alan Davies - this year performing a three-day stint at the Gilded Balloon - as everything that was wrong with the festival nowadays: a symbol of the gross commercialism which has engulfed it, with Davies and his off-the-telly ilk mounting an overpriced money grab and destroying the spirit of it all.