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DarkChat - Reviewing the Edinburgh Fringe since 2008


Do You Remember the First Time?

Everyone remembers their first time right?  The darkened room, the sweating, the hope that it doesn't finish too quickly (it might last an hour if you're lucky) and that you won't get picked on before it finishes. 


Your first Fringe experience is something that stays long in the memory, be it a tiny room with a dozen Argentinian folk dancers or a huge room with one of the Fringe's biggest names.


To celebrate the 70th Anniversary of the Edinburgh Fringe and DarkChat's own 10th Anniversary we've invited a selection of people connected to the festival to provide their memories of their first festival.   Over the next few weeks we'll be sharing a few of these with you.



First up one of our new Best Friends Tomás Ford who this year will be presenting "Tomás Ford:Crap Music Rave Party" and "Tomás Ford : Craptacular" (both highly recommended) and these are his recollections:


My first Edinburgh Fringe was an incredible experience. I was playing at the basement

of the Jekyll & Hyde in New Town at midnight, a thousand miles away from the action

at that time of night, but my show built up phenomenal word of mouth. I ended up with an

award nomination and a ton of cabaret folk coming to check out my weird shit.


It was packed out most nights! Not to mention nights drinking homebrew spirits with

French students from Lyon in the Meadows playground, hanging out with American

rappers, finding a new megafan who came to the majority (!) of the shows and compared

me to his favourite band Kiss, messing up multiple opportunities for further touring by

being an idiot, crowdsurfing through malls, meeting people from around the world,

climbing mountains, drinking whiskey…  I felt like an idiot for not having come ten years

earlier ‘cos it was instantly clear that Edinburgh Fringe is pretty much Where I Live In

August Until I Die.


For details of Tomás's shows this year just click here.




From behind the scenes we spoke to Chloe Nelkin from Chloe Nelkin consulting:


"I first went to the Edinburgh Fringe as a punter about 12 years ago and was blown away – the theatre, the art, the people, the sheer overload of amazing culture in one city...  And that was it.  I never looked back.  Edinburgh Fringe became a part of my yearly calendar and I can’t imagine not being a part of it.


Now I work at the Fringe as a PR consultant it’s a bit different but I remember the buzz of queueing for a much-talked about show, the excitement of sprinting between venues to see 12 shows a day and that giddy late-night feeling when you realise you’ve been seeing so much that you didn’t leave a food break.  There is something very special about the Fringe and no matter how many times you visit I still think the infectious buzz of the festival hits you as soon as you get off the train.  


Bring on August!



To check out Chloe's Edinburgh shows this year you can find all the information on the CNC website,





Our favourite show of 2016 was "Ada/Ava" by Manuel Cinema. They are back this year with "Lula Del Ray".


These are their thoughts of Sarah Fornace regarding their visit last year:


2016 was the first time at the Fringe for all of us at Manual Cinema, and the very first time in Edinburgh for many of us! One of the best parts was meeting people from all over the world. We loved getting to know our venue staff at Topside (many of whom we met again halfway around the world at the Fringe in Adelaide) and we were proud to cheer on the Topside tech crew at the Talent Show between venue staff at the end of the last year's festival.


We loved meeting artists from around the world and seeing acts that we had

only been able to see before on the Internet. Our favorites included: Nina Conti,

Puddle’s Pity Party, Yeti’s Demon Dive Bar, Austentatious, and Derevo. I am hugely

excited to see new shows from some of those performers who are returning this



Just living in Edinburgh during festival month was definitely a highlight. At times,

I would turn down a street and feel like I landed in Diagon Alley! I loved seeing the

Tattoo fireworks over the castle, and the projection design on the castle for the

opening of the Edinburgh Festival was one of the most incredible moments of spectacle

that I have ever seen (the time lapse back to the prehistoric volcano really sticks

with me).


The company climbed Arthur’s Seat, and we had evening picnics on Calton Hill. We ate amazing Malaysian food and drank too much good beer and cider while trading stories with other touring artists. Even just writing this makes me realize how excited I am to go back. Last year, we were also shooting a video for the NYTimes (at the incredible art space Basic Mountain) while performing.


This year, I have more time, so I am hoping to catch at least 4-5 other shows a week while we are performing. The worst part of Fringe last year was missing so many incredible shows!


Manual Cinema are performing Lula Del Ray at the Underbelly Med Quad throughout August, check here for details.

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