Folk at the Fringe

We walk down into the stone basement of the Royal Oak; a tiny room, space for a couple of performers and a crowd of about thirty, all crammed in. The sets are unplugged, and we’re sat a matter of feet from the performers, standing with their guitars.

This show is exactly what it promises: good music for a fiver, played by talented musicians.

First, Louis Gilman. He’s a good singer, with a natural understanding of how to work a space like this – his playing is gentle, and he draws the audience in closer to him, sometimes so that we’re almost straining to listen. The songs he plays also benefit from a light hand: they’re old folk songs, the kind you used to hear around a campfire, and they’re darker and more gothic than much ‘folk’ music you’ll hear today. Someone observes that Edinburgh’s a good setting for songs like these, and a good day for them too; outside is all mist and drizzle and stone passages. Two highlights are Leave her Johnny and Queen Jane. Gilman doesn’t apologise for the sombre tone of his songs. “Music’s sweet and lovely” he says bluntly, “so if you just sing about sweet and lovely things you get an overload. You need to contrast it with the darker things in life”.

The second performer is James O’Hara-Knight. He has a different style to Gilman, more upright, and he strums at his guitar rather than picking individual strings. His voice is deep like oak, and his songs perhaps more recognisable. He sings about the human and mundane, he covers Dylan among others, and again it’s a good set. The audience clearly enjoy themselves; there’s a friendly atmosphere throughout, and each song is greeted by generous applause.

This show is exactly what it promises: good music for a fiver, played by talented musicians. Take it in with a pint one afternoon and you won’t be disappointed.

Reviews by Matthew Bradley

The Jazz Bar

The Great Hipster Songbook

★★★
Laughing Horse @ The Free Sisters

Mixtape

★★★★
The Jazz Bar

Nick Harper

★★★
Gilded Balloon at the Museum

The Beatbox Collective

★★★★
Quaker Meeting House

The Sorries

★★★★

Since you’re here…

… we have a small favour to ask. We don't want your money to support a hack's bar bill at Abattoir, but if you have a pound or two spare, we really encourage you to support a good cause. If this review has either helped you discover a gem or avoid a turkey, consider doing some good that will really make a difference.

You can donate to the charity of your choice, but if you're looking for inspiration, there are three charities we really like.

Mama Biashara
Kate Copstick’s charity, Mama Biashara, works with the poorest and most marginalised people in Kenya. They give grants to set up small, sustainable businesses that bring financial independence and security. That five quid you spend on a large glass of House White? They can save someone’s life with that. And the money for a pair of Air Jordans? Will take four women and their fifteen children away from a man who is raping them and into a new life with a moneymaking business for Mum and happiness for the kids.
Donate to Mama Biashara now

Theatre MAD
The Make A Difference Trust fights HIV & AIDS one stage at a time. Their UK and International grant-making strategy is based on five criteria that raise awareness, educate, and provide care and support for the most vulnerable in society. A host of fundraising events, including Bucket Collections, Late Night Cabarets, West End Eurovision, West End Bares and A West End Christmas continue to raise funds for projects both in the UK and Sub-Saharan Africa.
Donate to Theatre MAD now

Acting For Others
Acting for Others provides financial and emotional support to all theatre workers in times of need through the 14 member charities. During the COVID-19 crisis Acting for Others have raised over £1.7m to support theatre workers affected by the pandemic.
Donate to Acting For Others now

Performances

Location

The Blurb

Lost Horizons presents some of the finest folk and acoustic music from across the UK.

Most Popular See More

Pretty Woman: The Musical

From £24.00

More Info

Find Tickets

Back to the Future - The Musical

From £24.00

More Info

Find Tickets

My Fair Lady

From £24.00

More Info

Find Tickets

The Lion King

From £30.00

More Info

Find Tickets

Wicked

From £24.00

More Info

Find Tickets

Moulin Rouge! The Musical

From £30.00

More Info

Find Tickets