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Edinburgh Blog: Late night larks with ceilidhs, Kitson and trams

There are options aplenty for night owls on the Fringe

The stereotypical late night Edinburgh Fringe experience involves a bunch of comedians fending off the heckles of drunk people until the small hours. But I've found over the years that, although this experience is still widely available, there's been a sharp growth in 'alternative' late night options at the festival.

'Rousing' - This Is Ceilidh

Earlier this week I visited This Is Ceilidh, a rousing hour and a half of Scottish dancing held in the Spiegeltent at George Square, which sees two men - one wearing antler horns - calling the crowd through a series of dances whilst telling a Romeo and Juliet love story involving warring clans.

The music features bagpipes (of course), fiddling and even rapping, and I've rarely seen such a high spirited Edinburgh gathering. The dancing, whilst hardly refined, is impossible to resist, and all told it has the atmosphere of a rowdy wedding reception where you don't know any of the guests but all of them are having the time of their lives.

And it's not the only late night ceilidh on offer - on 13 August the acclaimed Mairi Campbell Ceilidh Band will be hosting a midnight shindig at Summerhall that promises to "have you dancing all night" - a promise I've no doubt they'll deliver.

Speaking of midnight shindigs, Daniel Kitson is in his favourite midnight slot at The Stand again this year, though you wouldn't know if from the Fringe brochure - in typical Kitson style he only announced it last minute through his mailing list.

He isn't doing press but, despite my exhaustion from the previous night's revelries, I pitched up on Tuesday an hour before the show and was lucky enough to bag a couple of tickets. "Be warned," said the girl on box office, "last night they came out at 2.30am."

The show, Kitson and Fathers, is comprised of stand-up, songs and a frisson of theatre thanks to a series of vignettes involving a loner called Keith and his relationship with a woman (voiced by the excellent Isy Suttie) who works on the classified ads section of a newspaper.

Kitson's regular collaborator Gavin Osborn provides music and no shortage of laughs himself (comics Alun Cochrane and Andy Zaltzman take over from 13 August), and a generally brilliant time is had by all who've come to worship at the master's feet - even if, after over two hours sitting in an over-heated basement, even a bona fide genius was struggling to keep my eye-lids from drooping.

My trio of lates was completed last night with Bloody Trams at the Traverse, which whipped the local audience into a frenzy with testimonies from those affected by the ridiculously expensive tram network that has spread across the city in recent years.

The show was a riot - and its late night slot undoubtedly contributed to the giddy atmosphere. It was especially wonderful to see a group of pensioners crying 'hear hear' from the seats in front, leading to an atmosphere more akin to a town hall meeting than a play. There really is something for every night owl at Edinburgh this year.