Forest Fringe is an artist-led organisation making space for risk and experimentation. Now in their tenth year, they’re celebrating with a best of retrospective. Originally based at the Forest arts and community charity’s previous Bristo Place location, they’ve invited back some old friends to their party and fourth year at Out of the Blue‘s Drill Hall with an exciting programme of experimental art and performance. You’re never quite sure what you will get with the Forest Fringe but you should find something worth seeing and enjoyable. Don’t take my word for it, see what Lyn Gardner, the Gruaniad’s theatre critics says about them, Forest Fringe: 10 Years of Risk-taking Theatre that Re-invented Edinburgh. I had the pleasure or working beside Forest Fringe in 2010 and 2011 when I volunteer at the Forest and I can assure that this celebration is worth seeing, although sadly I’ve left it late in their run to ‘preview’ it. Still, here are a few highlights you can still see.
Ira Brand’s Break Yourself (every day at 14:00 until Saturday 20th August) is a performance piece about identity, gender and the Boss. As a blokey Bruce Springsteen fan, it’s hard for me to resist this show. Over the last 40 years, a man’s role in society has changed, for the better, but it has left some of us confused and not sure what we should be, let alone how we now fit at home and the workplace. Brand, who co-runs Forest Fringe with Andy Field and Deborah Pearson, examines all of this and looks to see if it is possible to become something we’ve never been before.
Dan Canham’s 30 Cecil Street (daily at 21:15 until Saturday 20th August) was the Forest Fringe’s final performance at Bristo Place. This time I’m determined not to miss it due to humping wraps of beer and telling Festival farang to “mooooo-ve.” This is a dance-theatre elegy for a lost and ruined theatre, conjuring up the building’s spirit while asking what is left when a theatre closes its doors to the public.
The Night Flyer is part of a double bill with 30 Cecil Street. This is an everyday love story of a boy crossing the night in a mysterious train to find a lost girl. The Night Flyer is a mix of animation, music, film and theatre, featuring pen and ink illustrations manipulated in front of a video camera and projected onto the big screen alongside the live music.
Lastly, there’s Ryan Van Winkle’s Red Like our Room Used to Feel, which is on daily until Saturday (12-15:00 & 16-19:00). Van Winkle, a sweet guy and a very dear friend, will give you an intimate one-to-one poetry performance and a chance to enjoy a drink and biscuits during a little space to listen and think on joy, memory and loss. Really, what more can you ask for from a Fringe performance?
There are other shows on between now and Saturday night, but these are my highlights. Oh and for the frugal amongst you, the shows are free, but I do recommend you buy Forest Fringe: The First Ten Years, which collects the best of their work and celebrates a remarkable and entertaining decade.