By the time I manage to actually arrive at the Fringe, I’ll have been away from home for the better part of a month. While I love Edinburgh, that doesn’t stop me from wanting a piece of cornbread, a cup of sweet tea, and an old southern grandma to say “Awwww, Bless your heart,” at me when I mention I’ve spent time away from home. For those who are a bit homesick for the South, or people who just want to hear some fun accents, here are a few shows which should make you feel like you’re right back below the Mason-Dixon line.
SOMETHING WEIRD: Dandy Darkly’s All Aboard
Most people wouldn’t associate the south with queer storytelling of any kind, but this is the Fringe, and what could be more fun than a Drag performer telling you spooky, gothic Americana horror stories. Join Dandy Darkly, our intrepid storyteller, on his ship, the Gaybird Steamer, and travel down the river of the mythology of this bizarre segment of the world. Dandy takes old southern rumors, African traditional stories, as well as a splash of the finest southern authors (Tennessee Williams, Mark Twain, Truman Capote) to create a show that’s designed to make you laugh, jump, and maybe think about how messed up the south can be sometimes.
Underbelly Bristo Square, 11:10 pm, no shows on 13th
SOMETHING MUSICAL: Alabama God Damn
With its feet firmly planted in between storytelling and musical showcase, Alabama God Damn is a perfect home for anyone who wants to hear the sound of a rough strummed acoustic guitar and a hint of harmonica. While nominally about a man named Frank returning home and finding the space to love the Deep South Again, it’s really a way for these guys to show off their musical chops. With its influences lying in True Detective, S-Town and Southern Gothic music, come here if you want a chance to hear some down home good tunes.
Pleasance Dome, 10dome, 11:00, no shows on 13, 21, 27
SOMETHING FUNNY: Reginald D. Hunter- An American Facing the Beast and Niggas
As a homegrown Georgia Boy myself, I’ve got a lot of respect for a black comedian from the south. Hailing from Albany, GA, Reginald D. Hunter has a strong history of facing race in his comedy- his show last year speared the OJ Simpson trial with just its name, and this year promises the same. Expect some comedy about the absurdity of the south as well, as Hunter has a history of spearing his homeland, namely in his BBC Two Show, Songs of the South. Plus who else can say they’ve had 20 years at the fringe?
Pleasance at EICC, 20:30, no shows on 8, 14, 20
SOMETHING POLITICAL: The Abode
There’s a whole lot of theatre about trump going on at the fringe, and while this might not be as directly relevant to the South, it might just be the most interesting exploration of populism at the fringe. This new play, from the two-time Fringe First award winners, Pepperdine Scotland, follows Samuel, a man feeling lost in his country, as he falls straight into the world of online Trolls and his sister’s journey to get him back. Described as an 80’s adventure story plumbing the depths of contemporary extremism, if you want to see a show about populism that’s not your average Trump/Farage/Boris mockery, The Abode is for you.
Underbelly Cowgate, Big Belly, 12:30, August 9-16
SOMETHING SPOOKY: Showmanship
I want you to picture a rural town in the middle of the Dust Bowl back in the 30s. Creepy right? Now add in a creepier fortune teller/Oracle and you’ve got yourself a show. Showmanship is a darkly comic thriller about this woman, who promises safety and renewal for these people, but with no knowledge of if she’s the real deal or just another charlatan. That sort of weird roadside spookiness is endemic to the south, especially some of those southwestern specialty states, like Texas, Kansas and Oklahoma Come here if you want something intense, and creepy, with a beat up 30's aesthetic to match.
C Royale, Studio 1, 17:40, no shows 14th
SOMETHING CATCHY: Bonnie Bayou- The Jennifer Ewan Band
The culture of the city of New Orleans is a wild mashup of Southern, Carribean, French, and Cajun, a combo which has led to some of the best music ever. Louis Armstrong, Sidney Bechet, Roy Brown, and even Lil Wayne have come from the big easy, and while this show skews more traditional, it does have a hint of something new. Jennifer wants to take classic cajun sounds and add a touch of Celtic back to that. Described as a “Cocktail of Cajun and Modern sounds,” come here if you expect some interesting blues, with a little mix of Jazz and Celtic.
The Jazz Bar, 17:30, Only on 3, 9, 14, 16 21, 24