A rare treat of the Fringe is being able to speak your mind in a venue without having the talent shout you down. The Cabaret of Dangerous Ideas offers just such an opportunity every afternoon in St Andrews Square, with a series of discussions around diverse and wildly divergent topics. From bilingualism to Big Data, experts, researchers and decision-makers encourage us to debate and to discuss, to offer our own opinions and to challenge theirs. The whole run is sponsored and organised by the Beltane Network, which aims to make academic research available to a wider audience, and works with all four of Edinburgh's universities. This all means that there is a real danger of the show becoming more like a lecture, so the addition of the ever-vibrant Susan Morrisson is a stroke of genius, bringing us back down to earth and making us think about how the issues at hand affect us personally.
With a different talk every day of the Fringe, there is sure to be at least one event which pricks up your ears
Today, our musings were around the subject of how children experience public space. Why are all our beautiful green spaces surrounded by impenetrable fences? Why are all our schools surrounded by roads? Why does Edinburgh need only two skate-parks but 67 golf courses? City planners and researchers alike took to the stage to discuss their findings and their own Dangerous Ideas. Throughout, we were asked for opinions and questions, and a lively debate quickly sprung up amongst the audience. Though at times the speakers themselves lost control of this debate a little, Morrisson was always on hand to encourage us along or insist we move on.
As well as its aims to enlighten and entertain, the Cabaret is based around eight themes this year, which range from 'Our Privacy' and 'Our Politics' to the inspiring 'Our Brave new World'. With a different talk every day of the Fringe, there is sure to be at least one event which pricks up your ears or makes you think, and maybe even one or two that make you want to talk about it.