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Free Festival News & Reviews

This is where you can read recent news articles and reviews of shows in the Free Festival.


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The Fringe's first and possibly only live show

August 21, 2020   Chortle

Article about Nathan Cassidy: Observational - THE ONLY LIVE SHOW AT THIS YEARS EDINBURGH FRINGE

The Fringe's first and possibly only live show

At least one comedy event is to take place in Edinburgh this August.

Yesterday, Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon announced a relaxation of Covid regulations permitting outdoor performances. And within hours, stand-up Nathan Cassidy unveiled his plans to perform a solo show in the courtyard of the Three Sisters pub in Cowgate - usually the main hub for hundreds of Fringe performances in the Free Festival programme.

His show will take place at 5pm on Monday, the first day outdoor gigs are permitted in Scotland with physical distancing, enhanced hygiene and restricted numbers.

Cassidy previously claimed the honour of staging the first English solo comedy gig after lockdown with a performance at the Buxton Fringe in Derbyshire last month.

He describes the show he’ll be performing in Edinburgh, Observational, as ‘an uplifting true story’ adding: ‘It couldn’t be a better time to do it, giving some laughs and hope to people as they emerge from lockdown.

‘It was great to be the first live UK comedy show after lockdown at the Buxton Fringe, and to be the first (and maybe only) live comedy show at the Edinburgh Fringe 2020 would be a great thrill and privilege.’

The show is being presented by the Laughing Horse Free Festival, with donations at the end of the show.

Arthur Smith previously announced that he would be the only comedian at the Fringe, leading a version of his traditional offbeat walks through Edinburgh, but later had to drop his plans as they breached Covid guidelines.

Sturgeon yesterday announced that, as anticipated, some outdoor live events would be able to go ahead from Monday – but also gave councils new powers to crackdown on pubs that flouted the guidelines.

She said: ‘I hope the re-opening of some services will be welcomed because we know it is essential to reduce the economic harm this virus is doing, but I hope people will also understand why, as we try to open services and keep them open, we must take firm action when rules and guidance are not being complied with.

‘Two major risk factors have stood out in reports of recent clusters and these are indoor hospitality - including bars and restaurants - and social events and gatherings in people’s homes.

‘I am grateful to all of the many pubs, restaurants and cafes who have gone to great lengths to stick to our rules, but we know not all hospitality businesses have implemented the guidance effectively. We therefore intend to strengthen the power of local authorities to act in these circumstances.’

• A new survey has found that 52 per cent of British adults have not yet been to a pub or bar since lockdown started, despite it being possible to do so since the beginning of July. Almost a quarter of people felt the pandemic could even kill off the pub industry, according to the research by Perspectus Global,

Published: 21 Aug 2020 Click Here For Article


The Scotsman Coverage of the Fringe's first live show for 2020

August 21, 2020   The Scotsman

Article about Nathan Cassidy: Observational - THE ONLY LIVE SHOW AT THIS YEARS EDINBURGH FRINGE

The Scotsman Coverage of the Fringe's first live show for 2020

First 2020 Fringe stand-up show to be staged at Three Sisters next week

The first stand-up show has been confirmed for this year’s Edinburgh Festival Fringe – on the day live events are able to resume in Scotland after a five-month hiatus.

First 2020 Fringe stand-up show to be staged at Three Sisters next week
The first stand-up show has been confirmed for this year’s Edinburgh Festival Fringe – on the day live events are able to resume in Scotland after a five-month hiatus.

 Click Here For Article


THE ONLY LIVE SHOW AT THE 2020 EDINBURGH FRINGE

August 20, 2020   Free Fest News

Article about Nathan Cassidy: Observational - THE ONLY LIVE SHOW AT THIS YEARS EDINBURGH FRINGE

THE ONLY LIVE SHOW AT THE 2020 EDINBURGH FRINGE

THE LAUGHING HORSE FREE FRINGE FESTIVAL PRESENTS THE ONLY LIVE SHOW AT THE EDINBURGH FRINGE
With the changes to Phase Three Lockdown in Scotland, Live Outdoor gigs can resume from August the 24th with physical distancing, hygiene and restricted numbers. To mark this change The Free Festival will be presenting one live show as part of its Edinburgh Fringe 2020 Programme on Monday 24th, live in the Three Sisters Courtyard on Cowgate.

Known as the centre of free show activity during a normal August, live comedy and Fringe finally returns to one of the Fringe Festival Hubs, and to Edinburgh and Scotland.

The Show is: Nathan Cassidy: Observational
The Three Sisters Courtyard, Cowgate
Monday August 24th, 5pm-6pm
FREE (donations after the show)
A Free Festival stalwart, Nathan is a Leicester Comedy Festival Best Show Nominee 2020 and Buxton Fringe Best Show Nominee 2019
Award-winning comedian Nathan Cassidy presents an uplifting, multi-award nominated and internationally performed show about his magical, life changing year… 2019! With a crippling bad back, he joined a gym and a big, strong man changed his life forever. You couldn’t make it up. Join Nathan for the uplifting story of that man, that childhood friend, that duck-down duvet, and how he came to be called ‘Observational'

Reviews for ‘Observational'…

'As you watch his magic carpet unwind you sense a certain eeriness, that something special is going down, but you don’t know what... something transcendent, something sorcerous. Then comes the spinejangling & euphoric Keyser Söze finale, when all will seem well in the world!’ **** Mumble Comedy 2019

‘Excellent show!!!’ Trevor Lock, 2019

‘Well-crafted and delivered at good pace with everyone leaving the venue with a warm feeling and a smile on their face’ Buxton Fringe Review July 2019

Previous Reviews...

‘Stormingly good. Intelligent, funny, bang on point. I could have listened to much, much more.' Kate Copstick 2018

'Smart... relentlessly laugh-out-loud, hilarious' Edinburgh Evening News, 2018

‘A great comedian’ **** Broadway Baby

Malcolm Hardee Award Nominee Edinburgh Fringe.
Best Show Winner Buxton Fringe 2014 and 5 time Nominee 2014-2019

 Click Here For Article


THE FREE FRINGE FESTIVAL Launches it's Online Listings for Fringe 2020! You can now check out our Online Line-up for August

July 6, 2020   Free Fest News

THE FREE FRINGE FESTIVAL Launches it's Online Listings for Fringe 2020! You can now check out our Online Line-up for August

We're still here! Coronovirus may have stopped us from physically being in Edinburgh together, but we can still enjoy the fun of the free Fringe Fest online this year with daily shows delivered direct to your living room! Click Here For Article


A FEEL-GOOD SHOW

May 23, 2020   Fringe Review

Article about Show Up, Kids! Online LIVE!

A FEEL-GOOD SHOW

Using Zoom to reach audiences virtually, Peter Marino creates an interactive 50 minutes of imaginative, high-energy fun that kids can join in with from home! Click Here For Article


Looks Unfamiliar

January 1, 2020   Looks Unfamiliar

Article about Meryl O'Rourke: Vanilla

Looks Unfamiliar

 Click Here For Article


Eliott Simpson: (a)sexy and I Know It

July 24, 2019   ArtsYork

Article about Eliott Simpson: (a)sexy and I know it

Eliott Simpson: (a)sexy and I Know It

Comedian Eliott Simpson brings his show (a)sexy and I Know It to the Great Yorkshire Fringe prior to a run at the Edinburgh Fringe next month. The (a) is aptly placed, as Simpson’s show centres around his asexuality, and society’s response to this oft forgotten and misunderstood minority.

Simpson is an instantly likeable figure, bounding on stage enthusiastically in an Austin Powers style violet suit and waffle bowtie, and from that moment on the audience feels relaxed in his self-deprecating yet simultaneously self-assured company. Complete with props to aid his cheesy yet well-placed one-liners (plus running commentary of how much they set him back), and PowerPoint which largely serves to project various ‘dick pics’, the laughs just keep on coming. A section on the new-found gay romance between the Babadook and Pennywise the clown is a highlight.

As with any work in progress there are a couple of jokes that fall a bit flat (I’d skip the one about the Glaswegian comic’s advice), but by this point the audience are so in tune with Simpson that it doesn’t matter. Overall, he succeeds in finding the right balance between being both informative and hilarious, personal and universal, with a fominute show that is accessible and inclusive to members of the LGBTQIA community and its allies. Worth checking out in Edinburgh – with this ace show you can have your cake and eat it too.

(a)sexy and I Know It previewed at The Basement, York on the 23rd July 2019 as part of the Great Yorkshire Fringe. Keep up with Eliott and his gigs calendar here. Click Here For Article


Wild Comedy

January 20, 2019   DC METRO ARTS

Article about Show Up, Kids! Online LIVE!

Wild Comedy

‘Along with the delights of its wild comedy and interactive experiences, Show Up, Kids! teaches young audiences some valuable lessons about honoring your commitments, expressing your ideas with confidence, and being true to yourself.’ Click Here For Article


OUT AND OUT HILARITY

October 9, 2018   The Front Row Center

Article about Show Up, Kids! Online LIVE!

OUT AND OUT HILARITY

'A one-man whirling dervish of energy, comic timing, physical agility, and out and out hilarity. the kids were absolutely mesmerized.' Click Here For Article


HILARIOUS

October 8, 2018    The Wee Review

Review of Show Up, Kids! Online LIVE!

HILARIOUS

'Marino knows what kids find funny. A show of this caliber is an opportunity to show up for!' Click Here For Review