The Fringe has descended upon the Scottish Capital in all its loud, wild and distinctively eccentric glory. Intrinsic to Edinburgh’s identity, this yearly festival once again guarantees to deliver with its colourful and diverse array of performances, music and events. The streets, venues and bars of Edinburgh are bursting at the seams with unashamed culture vultures, thespians and artistes alike; and with such an eclectic mix of activities and shows on offer – who can blame them?! If you too are planning on venturing up and joining in on this revelry, then SUITCASE are here to help you navigate the urban maze of merriment with our cherry picked highlights.  What’s more, all of the following events can be enjoyed without spending a single Scottish penny.

Edinburgh International Book Festival

Where 5A Charlotte Square

When 10th- 26th August

Why go In a city steeped in a rich literary history, from 19th century master of words Sir Walter Scott to living legend J.K. Rowling, where could be better for unashamed bookworms to gather and indulge in their passion for all things literary? With a varied program of author events, workshops and daily story shops, there is something for all appreciators of the written word. Highlights include a mini-festival called Unbound that takes place daily in the Guardian Spiegeltent from 9pm until 11pm. Expect music, drinks and authors including everyone’s famous feminist, Caitlin Moran at the end of the month.


I HEART SCOTLAND: An Exhibition by Rachel Maclean

Where Edinburgh Printmakers, 23 Union Street

When 2nd August – 7th Sept, Tues–Sun, 10am–6pm

Why go Described as  ‘grotesquely positive and violently kitsch’ this is a starkly relevant visual portrayal of both Scotland’s rich romantic history and its politically turbulent present, in light of the upcoming referendum of 2014. One not to be missed for art, history and politics lovers alike.

Austentatious: Improvised Jane Austen Novel

Where The Ballroom, The Country House, 38 West Nicolson St

When  1-25th August, 1.30pm

Why go If her six novels weren’t enough and you find yourself craving more genteel-dramas, debacles and love affairs then get yourself along to watch this hilarious audience-prompted Jane Austen novel unfold. Critically acclaimed and an established favourite on the improvised comedy circuit, this is a must-see for Austen and comedy lovers alike.

Jessie Cave and Jenny Bede Ain’t Too Proud to Beg

Where Henry’s Cellar Bar, 16A Morisson Street

When Aug 3 – 24, 1.10pm

Why go A mosey around Jenny Bede’s youtube channel (we recommend her Made in Chelseais enough to convince anyone that she is one funny gal. Her win of Best Newcomer at the Musical Comedy Awards only acts as further proof of this fact. Jessie Cave (i.e Lavender Brown from Harry Potter) is also already a favourite on the stand-up comedy scene, with her show Bookworm 

being a total sell-out last year. In other words: this is a comedy duo not to be missed.  Look out for our interview with Jessie later in the week.

Patrick Turpin

Where Bannermans

When until 24th August, 12:30-13:30

Why go Patrick Turpin’s Just a Girl, Standing in Front of a Boy, Asking Him to Love Her is evidence of the injustice of the entertainment industry. It seems downright mad that his show offers free admission, when it’s worth more than its weight in comedy gold. Quirky, confident and more than a little easy on the eyes, Patrick happily pokes fun at himself from start to finish, giggling along with the audience as he delivers awkward/genius one-liners and hilarious/cringe-worthy family anecdotes. This year marks his 6th appearance at the festival and it doesn’t look like he’s going anywhere anytime soon.  @explorepatrick


The Pear Tree Live Performance Stage

Where The Pear Tree, W Nicolson St

When 5th-25th August, 12-6pm

Why go If you find yourself wandering aimlessly around the rowdy streets of Edinburgh without direction, then head to The Pear Tree for a daily dose of live music performances. Aside from being one of Edinburgh’s prettiest beer gardens, expect a wide variety of music to keep you entertained as you happily drink the afternoon away.

Rhys James

Where Laughing Horse @ The Free Sisters

When Runs until 26 August, 17:25-18:10

Why go If you’re unable to make it up to Scotland this summer, then simply following Rhys James will suffice. The Nicholas Hoult lookalike has crafted a feed so hilarious it had Suitcase in stitches for hours. Gems include: “If university taught me just one thing, then it was a waste of money,” “9 out of 10 experts agree that other guy is a real contrarian asshole” and “Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate, it is that someone we don’t know that well but well enough to talk to will get on our train.” You’d be crazy to miss him in person. @rhysjamesy

Alex Kealy

Where Kilderkin

When Until 24 August, 21:45-22:45

Why go SUITCASE was lucky enough to meet 23 year old Alex Kealy in person, and needless to say, the So You Think You’re Funny finalist had us wrapped around his finger. Check out his show ‘Alex Kealy and Friends’ which debuts under the wonderful umbrella of PBH’s Free Fringe.

 By Emma Winterschladen and Lindsay Carlson

                                         Originally published August 2013 on suitcasemag.comClick here to read article.