Edinburgh Festival Fringe 2014: 10 strange, site-specific venues

This article is from 2014

Edinburgh Festival Fringe 2014: 10 strange, site-specific venues

Featuring phone shops, police boxes, rickshaws, caravans and a boxing gym

From department stores to local bars, weird performance spaces are all part of the Fringe experience. Claire Sawers takes a look at some of this year’s non-traditional venues

A boxing gym

An amateur boxing club becomes the set for this verbatim theatre piece based on interviews with Muslim female boxers, using a cast of 16–18-year-olds.
No Guts, No Heart, No Glory, Sandy’s Boxing Gym, Craigmillar, 226 0000, 18–25 Aug, times vary, £12 (£6).

A mobile phone shop

PhoneShop set a Channel 4 sitcom in a mobile phone store. Now a former branch of Phones 4U jumps on the retail-space-based bandwagon, hosting stand-up, theatre and a musical about Nandos.
Various shows, Phones 4U, Princes Street, 226 0000, freestival.co.uk

An ice rink

Canadian figure skaters head to the place that's been the epicentre of Edinburgh teen romance for decades to perform acrobatic ice routines. After the show, debutants and show-offs alike are invited on to the ice for an all-abilities dance party.
This is Contemporary Ice Skating, Murrayfield Ice Rink, 07532 181 402, 3–4, 9–11,13, 17, 20, 22–23 Aug, times vary, £15 (£13, £38 family ticket).

A caravan

What better place to get up close and personal with two ‘John Waters grotesques’ than in a caravan with a maximum capacity of eight? Cuddle up to explore ‘an exceptionally close mother-daughter relationship’.
Barbara and Yogashwara's Safe Space, theSpace on Niddry St, 510 2383, 6–20 Aug (not 10, 14, 18), 3pm, 5pm and 7pm, £8 (£6.50).

A former brewery

It’s famously impossible for some people to organise a piss-up in a brewery, but it turns out it is possible to stage a circus there. The gap site where McEwan’s Brewery once stood hosts this dance/music/acrobatics spectacle.
Bianco, NoFit State Big Top, Fountainbridge Brewery, 0333 222 9000, 1–25 Aug (not 4,11,18), times vary, £20 (£18), previews 29–31 Jul (£15).

A police box

We can’t tell you exactly what’ll be happening in there yet – but it’s one of 43 venues used by the Free Fringe to stage their 504 gratis shows this year. They’re also using Italian restaurants, metal bars, nightclubs and a statue, as a starting point for their ‘non ghost tour’.

A rickshaw

Audiences of two are invited to sip jasmine tea in the back of a rickshaw and learn about daily life in China, from this grassroots theatre company from Beijing, Hua Dan.
Hand Made in China, the rickshaw, Summerhall Courtyard, 0845 874 3001, 11–24 Aug, timed slots from 1–3pm and 4–6pm, £3.

A small animal hospital

Somewhere rabbits and dogs once went for vaccinations now promises ‘a 360° visceral, enveloping experience, challenging conventions of the live gig’. Noise-art collaborators, The Neutrinos use black-outs, music and sensory disorientation to explore extremes of performance in a small space.
KlangHaus, Small Animal Hospital, Summerhall, 0845 874 3001, 5–24 Aug (not 11, 18), times vary, £12 (£10), previews 1–3 Aug, times vary, £6.

A beach

Beautiful Porty Beach stages a theatre performance. At sunrise and sunset, for three days, singers and swimmers will assemble on the sand, for ‘a poetic and captivating’ hour of soprano song, storytelling and staring wistfully out to sea.
Out of Water, Portobello Beach, 226 0000, 8–10 Aug, 6.30am and 8.30pm, £10 (£8).

A bedroom

Consider being cornered under a duvet by someone the Met Police have described as ‘a domestic extremist’, and the NHS called ‘highly disturbed’. Twelve audience members will be marched to a bedroom in a secret location for just that.
Mental, Pleasance Courtyard, The Bedroom, 556 6550, 7–24 Aug, (not 11–13, 18–20), 6.30pm, £10 (£8).