Ms ZiYou Ed Fringe 2019

A sneaky trip to the fringe

As someone who loves fringe theatre, it’s not a surprise I love getting to the Edinburgh fringe. After getting a whole week there last year, and planning a big Americas trip in late August. I wasn’t planning on going this year.

Nonetheless I managed to sneak in a visit to the fringe in 2019, mainly as I don’t have a day job at the moment. So why not?

Which fringe shows

So this year was a first – my mum and I went on a day trip together. Truth be told she’s not a bad companion. On the positive side, she enjoys sitting through hours of feminist plays. And she understands Scots. She also made no comments about my alcohol consumption this time and only did a light bit of pearl-clutching. All in, not bad.

However, truth be told I did a lot of stage managing beforehand. From the list of shows I wanted to see, lots had to be watered down. Any mention of nudity and a show was out. As were adult themes. Not to mention vetos of any shows that mentioned mother-daughter relationships. But we did manage to agree on three shows.

Saying Hi to Monarch and Bobby

Ms ZiYou Monarch

Now when I visit Edinburgh, I love to pop into the Gallery to see my favourite painting of Monarch. I love how stunning he is – so majestic and he knows it.

It reminds me of the fun time I had hiking the West Highland Way a few years ago. It’s a fabulous long-distance trail and a fun walk over similar landscape to the painting. On my trek, I did see a few deer in the distance, but sadly no majestic stags. Next time?

Ms ZiYou Bobby

And this visit to Edinburgh we also got to pop in to see Bobby as well. Although I do find the story of his devotion to his deceased owner quite sad, it’s a lovely tribute.

Today the dog’s grave attracts way more visitors than any of the human graves. Look at all those sticks people have collected for him. Brings me hope that there is lots of good around in the world.

Concluding the flying visits to interesting places in Edinburgh, we then went back onto the fringe.

Bible John

The first show I selected was about a mass murderer who attacked women in Glasgow and has never been caught.  Some nice light material to start the day right? After being lubricated with my wine, we got into the queue early and snagged front row seats.

An interesting show then unveiled before us – it was very well put together and very much the type of fringe theatre I love. I’m not personally a great serial killer fan, yet something about this play attracted me. It touched upon the female love of true crime despite its grizzly nature. Going deeper and more feminist, we explored the misogynism shared by the serial killer and the investigating detectives.

Working-class women who liked to dance were the serial killers’ prey yet the media and public seemed to shame them for daring to go out and dance. Which today sounds absolutely shocking. Moreover, did the fact that the women weren’t perfect demure victims result in their killer never being caught? Sadly, it appears so from the evidence we have. Sobering thoughts.

Godley on the Fringe

After the dark start, my next risque bet was a comedian who is famous for her Trump welcoming party as seen above. Easy to say she’s not a Trump fan. In addition to her Trump stance, she also has a lot of opinions on UK politicians. And she does some fantastic voiceovers over them. Which I personally think are hilarious. Although if you don’t understand Scots, I accept they are less funny.

Personally, I loved the show. It was great watching her do live voiceovers. I’m always amazed at comedians who can perform live and improvise with whatever comes up. Her standup was also great – delivered with a dose of left-wing realism from a menopausal woman who isn’t afraid to mention it. A strong feminist, she isn’t afraid to swear, and let’s just say my mum got a little bit pearl clutchy but braved it well.


Our final show was based on a classic literary tale by Thomas Hardy: Tess D’Urberville. With a bit of folk music added in for good measure. It’s such a heartwarming tale of Tess, who you can’t help but love and feel very sorry for. Born into a poor family and sent out to work, she is abused and manipulated by man after man.

Not to rush through, but the best part of this show was the ending. Which has been reimagined in a much more positive way. Rather than the assumed execution of Tess for murdering her abuser, in this version her mum and sister save her.

A cool production which brought up the old fashioned notions of women’s shame and the acceptance of rape it was harrowing yet heartwarming when the ending was revealed.

Feminist Credentials

When I go the fringe I always make sure I go to and support female acts. I check my bookings and make sure I have the correct balance and that my money is mainly going to female artists. Now this year I have excelled. All our shows were acted by all-female casts.

Moreover, all had strong feminist credentials.  The first critiqued society and the police for classism and misogyny, the second gave a strong feminist approach to life and the menopause and the final rewrote Tess D’Urberville with a feminist ending.

Over to you

  • What are your thoughts?
  • Been to the fringe? Going/gone this year?
  • How do you pick shows to see?

Thank you for reading – please leave a comment below and join in the conversation. You can also connect on Twitter or contact me privately.

12 comments on “A sneaky trip to the fringe

  1. Sounds awful. So called comedy and profanity, from self righteous whingers. Would i pay to listen to millionaires moan about their life? No thank you.

      1. Your a smart cookie. If you think you must surely see feminism is just sexism, the mirror image of what it claims to be against. Surely the way forward is that relationships and work teams is aiming for unity and common goals, not identity nonsense that sets groups against each other. Stronger united not divided.

          1. I love reading you and your feminist perspective Ms. Zi You! Thank you so much for writing; you are a breath of fresh air in this FI genre!

  2. I love Edinburgh and the festival and we’ve been twice this year already – just day trips.
    If you are a feminist then I am a Suessist (we say The Cat in the Hat).
    For feminist credentials we did take our son to a show called Valentina’s Galaxy about the first woman in space!

  3. Ooo!! I’ve been to Greyfriars Bobby!!
    There weren’t as many sticks there when I went.
    Tess needs a good revamp. When I read it, way back in my twenties, I wanted to slap her. That woman has no backbone.
    (Then again, I’m not a huge Thomas Hardy fan at the best of times.)

    1. Hi Frogdancer, glad Bobby has got a decent haul of sticks these days.

      To be honest, given her circumstances I feel so much sympathy for Tess – life must be infinitely harder without money or education.

  4. Well done on making the trip North. I just need to get the train over the bridge, so I really should see more shows than I do. Saying that, I’m seeing a stand up mathematician next weekend (much funnier than it sounds) and Maisie Adam’s I think the weekend after that. I’ve never thought of checking the number of female artists I’m seeing, but actually it’s one male and one female, so I’m nicely balanced. And Janey is really funny. I saw her at a live recording of a topical news show and she brought the house down.

What do you think?