The Fringe: Still crazy after all these years

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Edinburgh wouldn't be Edinburgh without the annual offerings of creative lunacy. Alice Jones celebrates some of the maddest


Stationary Excess


One woman, an exercise bike and a bottle of champagne. The American actress Jessica Latowicki performs a 30-minute monologue about an "extraordinary man" while pedalling furiously. Along the way, she quaffs champagne, eats a packet of biscuits and even changes her clothes.

Late Night Gimp Fight!

Audiences arriving for this 11pm show are greeted by five wriggling laundry bags on stage. From these burst a five-man sketch troupe who proceed to perform a set of racy to deviant sketches in bondage gear. Some nudity.

One Man Lord of the Rings

Peter Jackson could have saved himself a lot of time and money if he'd only met Charlie Ross. Evidently all you need to recreate Tolkien's masterful trilogy is one man, some elbow pads and 3,600 seconds.

Comedy in the Dark

Every night a mixed bill of stand-ups take to the stage in pitch darkness. The idea is that it's environmentally friendly as well as heightening the audience's receptiveness. The line-up can be bizarre: "watching" a ventriloquist in the dark is by far the weirdest thing I've done this year.

Cirque de Légume

Billed as "The Greatest Vegetable Circus on Earth!", though it's not clear how many others there are. Levitating radishes, hypnotic beetroots and an onion striptease all feature.

Joe Power: The Man Who Sees Dead People

Last year it was The Chippendales, this year's programming oddity is a 43-year old psychic from Liverpool who talks to ghosts. He was heckled at the Assembly anniversary gala, where the publicist Mark Borkowski refused to cooperate with his questioning, proving that even conduits of the dead can die on stage.

Meals on Wheels: The Minotaur

Taking place in the back of a van, Kindle's latest "edible theatre" piece invites five brave audience members to enjoy a story via taste, smell and a little live music. Their salacious retelling of the Greek myth takes place over a plate of genital-shaped pasta, among other delights.

Hamlet! The Musical

If you've always thought that what was lacking from Shakespeare's tragedy was some good show-tunes and, um, puppets, then this is the play for you. Gertrude's a tipsy Essex golddigger, the ghost is dressed as Elvis, and Hamlet wears a baseball cap.

Your Dream Wedding

An "interactive shopping experience", this show takes place in a bridal shop next door to Edinburgh's Harvey Nichols. Handed a glass of champagne upon arrival, audience members are treated to a "bespoke" appointment with the owner, Michael.

Sex Idiot

Bryony Kimmings' deeply weird performance art is based on her discovery that she had contracted chlamydia. There are songs, interpretative dance, nakedness, sparkly matador trousers and an invitation to members of the audience to snip off a lock of their pubic hair so she might fashion herself a moustache. Told you it was weird.

The Scottish Falsetto Sock Puppet Theatre

How to describe this? Well, it's two sock puppets performing songs and sketches in falsetto voices, really. This year, among other things, "the Earth's funniest socks" perform a period drama in two minutes and commentate on the World Cup, with vuvuzelas.

William Shatner Karaoke

In honour of the actor "who has the power to transform any song into the tragic story of a Canadian everyman", audiences at the Forest Fringe are invited to perform pop songs in the style of a dramatic monologue. Alan Bennett does Aerosmith, anyone?

Faulty Towers: The Dining Experience

Taking place in a working restaurant on Drummond Street, this interactive piece invites audiences to enjoy / endure a three-course meal served to them by the hapless Manuel, while Sybil and Basil bicker in the background.

Red Hot Chilli Pipers

Not that weird but certainly raises some questions – mainly, why? The Red Hot Chilli Pipers play rock songs on their bagpipes, everything from Coldplay to Status Quo, in a "jock 'n' roll" explosion.

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