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Edinburgh Fringe 2019: Five weirdest thing I've seen

Michelle Kholos Brooks, writer of Hitler's Tasters, gives us an American's perspective on the Scottish arts festival

Fish flyering on the Royal Mile
© byronv2 / flickr CC BY-NC 2.0

Before I comment on the five weirdest things I've seen at Fringe, you should know I was skeptical about writing this story. I live in Venice Beach, California where it is not unusual to see someone biking to the ocean with a surfboard under one arm and a live parrot on the other. It is not unheard of to see an 80 year-old grandmother on roller skates disco dancing down the Venice boardwalk in hot pants. I have a fairly high tolerance for weird.

That being said, during my short stay in Fringe land, I have discovered that there is weird, and there is Edinburgh Festival Fringe weird. With my own eyes, I have beheld the following:

1. A man walking a goat down a very crowded Nicholson Street

A goat on a leash. I didn't even get the sense that the goat was part of a show. It wasn't passing out flyers! It wasn't trying to get anyone's attention at all! It simply bounced jauntily (dare I say, haughtily?) up the street as if it felt quite entitled to be amongst the dancers and tourists and fire eaters. I only hope it gives my show a good review when it gets back to its herd.

2. A woman sipping on a giant straw out of a giant plastic leg

I mean, that leg was half the size of the woman's body! It's quite unnerving from a distance. Was I seeing what I thought I was seeing? Did I have too much orange-infused gin or was I still in a Kafkaesque state after the show I had just seen? When I got closer to this cannibal-lady, she sneakily pulled a flier out of the leg and handed it to me faster than I could say, "Amputate!" I almost felt like paying admission for the sheer theatricality of it all.

3. Strange men walking up to small children and reaching into their ears to pull out various objects

I assume I was witnessing impromptu magic trick, but where I'm from, a stranger walking up to a three year-old is at risk of getting shot. By the three-year-old. (Sorry, poor taste, I know, but our government won't do a thing about the gun violence and sometimes we resort to joking to deal with the absolute horror of our situation).

Hitler's Tasters
© Cody Butcher

4. Deep-fried Mars Bars

C'mon people, that is not okay. In obnoxiously healthy California, this might actually be illegal (as opposed to firearms). You cannot, cannot, cannot fry up 6.6 g of fat and 23.6 g of sugar and expect tourists to ever leave Edinburgh! Who in their right mind is going to leave your city alone if you insist on feeding us this kind of forbidden fruit? Save yourselves and disavow the alchemy of the deep-fried Mars Bar! As a personal favour, I will take all of the remaining stock off of your hands and hide it in a very safe place. That is how much I love you.

5. The camaraderie!

The support for each other's shows! What is going on? I hate to keep invoking California, but where I'm from, shows don't support other shows! Performers don't support other performers! We rip each other's throats out! We smile to your face and then talk trash about your show behind your back—especially if your show is good! In the heart of the entertainment industry, people will sell their mothers to get a meeting with Brad Pitt's second cousin's girlfriend (sorry, mom, but I got a good price). I don't know what to do with all of this support and goodwill. I've even stopped telling people they're in the wrong queue and pointing them over to my show instead. All this goodwill is affecting me, and I fear I may be kicked out of the Hollywood Backstabbers Club. Maybe I can bribe myself back into their good graces with Mars Bars.

Hitler's Tasters is at [email protected] every evening at 6:30pm