Silver Linings: Pat Silver’s Edfringe Music Picks

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Sing Toronto Festival Director Pat Silver shares her music and other genre choices for this year’s Edinburgh Fringe

What I’m looking forward to seeing at this year’s Edinburgh Fringe

I’ve been coming to the Edinburgh Fringe since 1993. We first discovered it on a trip to Scotland and I was hooked. The Fringe was a lot smaller then.  I brought my Sphere Clown Band show in 1994. We were one of about 100 shows on offer, and were #16 in the Fringe Cavalcade Parade.  How things have changed!

Sorting through thousands of shows is a challenge.  I have a few favourites that I want to see again and some new choices.  Here are my recommendations.

Daniel Cainer’s Jewish Chronicles, Jul 31 Aug 1-17, 19-26, 13:20, at Underbelly, George Square. Daniel is a master storyteller who weaves his memories of family through a captivating hour of original music.  He will grab your heart and leave you wanting more.

Our Little Secret: The 23andMe Musical, Jul 31 Aug 1-6, 8-11, 14-19, 21-26, 17:30, at Gilded Balloon Patter House.  What happens when a curious guy takes the DNA test only to find out a family secret that was never revealed? I saw this at the Toronto Fringe and predicted a Broadway run.  Writer/singer/actor Noam Tomaschoff has done a fantastic job transforming this story into a fun musical that will have you cheering for him all the way.

Colin Cloud: Consequences, Jul 31 Aug 1-12, 14-26, Underbelly, Bristo Square.  There’s a good reason he earned a place on America’s Got Talent – his mentalism and magic are among the most polished I have ever seen.  I recently caught his Las Vegas show and it cemented my amazement at his slick delivery of mind-blowing routines.

Ctrl+Alt+Deceit! by Cambridge University Musical Theatre Society, Aug 12-24, 18:20, theSpace @ Niddry Street. This troupe always comes up with something clever and audience-pleasing. This story involves a laptop and a drug ring!

A Monty Python Cabaret Singalong Circus, artSpace@St. Mark’s, various days and times.  Who doesn’t love the Monty Python songs!  Looks like fun.

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Anesti Danelis: Artificially Intelligent, 31 July – 25 Aug, 14:15, Underbelly Bristo Square. Tik Tok sensation and stand up comic Anesti sings, plays guitar and piano…and plays with technology in a highly topical new show for 2024.  What happens when we ask AI to write our story? 

Circus Arts

As a professional clown, I have great appreciation of artists who keep us entertained with physical comedy, highly-perfected skills, and unique approaches to show development.  Two that caught my attention for this Edinburgh Fringe include:

Wes Peden’s show Rollercoaster, 31 July -26 August, 17:00, Roxy Central. It is billed as ultra-modern, pop-punk juggling with cutting edge tricks by a world record holder.

Ironing Board Man, 31 July -17 August, 16:20, Assembly George Square. Character comedian Jody Kamali promises a high-energy comedy show using nine ironing boards. It looks fun and quirky.

Special for me: anything a cappella.  There is a magic that can’t be replicated when voices alone deliver the songs.  There are nearly 30 a cappella shows this season. Two standouts for me are:

Oxford Gargoyles, 11:45, Gilded Balloon at the Museum,18-15 August.  This group is not your typical collegiate story-telling high-dance show. They deliver innovative and complex vocal arrangements sung by a highly-talented ensemble.

Oxford Alternotives: A Cappella Off the Rails!, 16:05, theSpace Triplex, 2 – 10 August.  One of UK’s longest-running student a cappella groups, they have made it to the a cappella championships ICCA with classic and modern pop tunes.

Do explore the full Fringe program. Try something new.  Preview pricing and 2-for-1 tickets are a great way to sample the Fringe.

by Patricia Silver, award-winning musician and clown