The show may be reduced but it still goes on - Karen Koren

It’s the second week of the Edinburgh Festival Fringe. It may not be the same as the last Fringe in 2019, but there are live shows on and there are audiences coming to see them.

Thursday, 19th August 2021, 8:00 am
Maisie Adam

It is so great to be able to present shows again. All the acts that are here are loving being able to have sold-out shows live.

We have been restricted to having only two indoor venues operating in Teviot Row House, the Gilded Balloon’s main building. We normally have nine, so it’s a huge contrast.

Most of the shows are work in progress. As there have been no live shows for over 18 months, most artists have been working online on Zoom, which is okay, but certainly does not have the same vibe as the live experience.

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The Gilded Balloon had six semi-final heats online for our stand-up comedy competition So You Think You’re Funny? Ten finalists will compete in the live Final on Thursday 26 August at Teviot.

The compere for the evening will be Mark Watson, who competed in So You think You’re Funny? in 2002. The contestants this year are five women and five men, so very even stakes.

The celebrity judge this year is the brilliant Maisie Adam, who won the competition in 2017 and has gone on to carve herself a great future in the comedy industry, regularly appearing on TV panel shows.

The final will be live streamed by NextUp Comedy, so anyone can watch from their home.

The last time we presented the competition was in 2019, so there’s been a huge amount of up and coming comedians vying for a place in the semi-finals.

The standard has been excellent and I was very encouraged to see that comedy has a good future.

The Fringe may be small this year, with only 670 shows, however there are still enough people around to come to the shows and enjoy good comedy, theatre and children’s shows.

There may be fewer tourists, but there are visitors from all over the British Isles and the appetite is certainly there.

The future looks bright for the 2022 Edinburgh Festival Fringe, when all our venues can reopen to prove that we are the greatest arts festival in the world.